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Samuel Johnfon, LL.D. 






Printed for T. Longman, B. White and Son, B. Law, J. Dodfley, H. Baldwin, 
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t T H E R A M B L E R, Concluded. 

NUMB. Page 

141 The danger of attempting wit in converfation. The 

. character of Papilius - I 

142 An account of fquire Blufter - j 

1 43 The criterions of plagiarifm - 14 

144 The difficulty of raifing reputation. The various 

fpecies of detractors - - 22 

145 Petty writers not to be defpifed - 28' 

146 An account of an author travelling in queft of his own 

character. The uncertainty of fame - 33 

147 The courtier's efteem of affurance - 39 

148 The cruelty of parental tyranny - 45 

149 Benefits not always intituled to gratitude - 51 

150 Adverfity ufeful to the acquifition of knowledge 57 

151 The climactericks of the mind - - 63 

152 Criticifmon epiilolary writings - 69 

153 The treatment incurred by lofs of fortune 75 

154 The inefficacy of genius without learning - 82 

155 The ufefulnefs of advice. The danger of habits. The 

neceffity of reviewing life . "^ - 88 1 

156 The laws of writing not always indifputable. Reflec- 

tions.on tragi-comedy 95 

157 The fcholar's complaint of his own bamfulnefs 101 

158 Rules of writing drawn from examples. Thofe ex- 

amples often miftaken - " -' 107 

*JL >B r"""" f~$ i 

; I tS.i-v 1 



Nu M B . Page 

159 The nature and remedies of baftifulnefs 113 

1 60 Rules for the choice of aflbciates - 118 

161 The revolutions of a garret 123 

162 Old men in danger of falling into pupillage. The con- 

dul of Tbrafybulus - - 129 

163 The mifchiefs of following a patron 135 

164 Praife univerfally defired. The failings of eminent men 

often imitated - 142 

165 The impotence of wealth. The vifit of Serotinus to the 

place of his nativity - - 146 

166 Favour not eafily gained by the poor 153 

167 The marriage of Hymenxus and ^ratiquilla 158 

1 68 Poetry debafed by mean expreffions. An example from 

Sbqkefpeare - - -164 

169 Labour neceflary to excellence 169 

170 The hiftory of Mifella debauched by her relation 175 

171 Mi/el/a's defcription of the life of a proftitute 1 8 1 

172 The effeft of fudden riches upon the manners 188 

173 Unreafonable fears of pedantry - - 194 

174 The mifchiefs of unbounded raillery. Hiftory of 

Dicaculus - log 

175 The majority are wicked - - 205 

176 Directions to authors attacked by criticks. The various 

degrees of critical perfpicacity - - 210 

177 An account of a club of antiquaries 215 

178 Many advantages not to be enjoyed together - 221 

179 The awkward merriment of a fcudent - 226 

1 80 Theftudyof life not to be negle&ed for the fake of 

books - - 231 

|8i The hiftory of an adventurer in lotteries - 237 

182 The hiftory of Lt-viculus, the fortune-hunter 243 

183 The influence of envy and intereft compared - 249 

184 The fubjeft of effays often fuggefted by chance. 

Chance equally prevalent in other affairs - 254 

185 The prohibition of revenge juftifiable by reafon. The 

meannefs of regulating our conduft by the opinions 

of men - 259 

1 86 Anningait and Ajut, a Greenland hiftory 265 

187 The hiftory and Ajut concluded 271 

188 Favour often gained with little affiltance from under- 

ftanding - - - - 277 

189 The 



189 The mifchiefs of falfehood. The character of 

Turpicula 282 

190 The hiftory of Abouxaid, the fon of Morad 287 

191 The bufy life of a young lady 293 

192 Love ucfuccefsful without riches 299 

193 The author's art of praifing himfelf 305 

194 A young nobleman's progrefsin politenefs 310 

195 A young nobleman's introdu&ion to the knowledge of 

the town - 316 

196 Human opinions mutable. The hopes of youth falla- 

cious - - - 322 

197 The hiftory of a legacy -hunter - - 327 

198 The legacy-hunter's hiftory concluded 332 

199 The virtues of Rabbi Abraham's magnet - 339 

200 Jt/per's complaint of the infolence of Proffero. Un- 

politenefs not always the effecl of pride - 346 

zoi The importance of punctuality - 352 

202 The different acceptations of poverty. Cy nicks and 

Monks not poor - - 358 

203 The pleafures of life to be fought in profpefts of fu- 

turity. Future fame uncertain - - 363 

204 The hiftory often days of Seged, emperor of Ethiopia 368 

205 The hiftory of Seged concluded - - 374 

206 The art of living at the coft of others - 3 80 

207 The folly of continuing too long upon the ftage 386 

208 The Rambler's reception. His defign 392 




NUMB. 141. TUESDAY, July 23, 1751. 

Hilarifque, tamen cum ponder e t vzrtuJ. STAT. 

Greatnefs with eafe, and gay feverity. 

To the RAMBLER. 


POLITICIANS have long obferved, that the 
greateft events may be often traced back to 
(lender caufes. Petty competition or cafual 
friendfhip, the prudence of a flave, or the garrulity 
of a woman, have hindered or promoted the moft im- 
portant fchemes, and haftened or retarded the revo- 
lutions of empire. 

Whoever jfhall review his life will generally find, 
that the whole tenor of his conduct has been deter- 
mined by fome accident of no apparent moment, or 
by a combination of inconfiderable circumftances, 
acting when his imagination was unoccupied, and 
VOL. VI. B his 

1 THE RAMBLER. N< i 4 r. 

his judgment unfettled ; and that his principles and 
actions have taken their colour from fome fecret infu- 
fion, mingled without defign in the current of his 
ideas. The defires that predominate in our hearts, 
are inftilled by imperceptible communications at the 
time when we look upon the various fcenes of the 
world, and the different employments of men, with 
the neutrality of inexperience ; and we come forth 
from the nurfery or the fchool, invariably deftined to 
the purfuit of great acquifitions, or petty accom- 

Such was the impulfe by which I have been kepE 
in motion from my earlieft years. I was born to an 
inheritance which gave my childhood a claim to dif- 
tinction and carefles, and was accuftomed to hear 
applaufes, before they had much influence on my 
thoughts. The firft praife of which I remember 
myfelf fenfible was that of good-humour, which, 
whether I deferved it or not when it was beftowed, I 
have fince made it my whole bufinefs to propagate 
and maintain. 

When I was fent to fchool, the gaiety of my look, 
and the livelinefs of my loquacity, foon gained me 
admifiion to hearts not yet fortified againft affection 
by artifice or intereft. I was entrufted with every 
ftratagem, and affoctated in every fportj my com- 
pany gave alacrity to a frolick, and gladnefs to a 
holiday. I was indeed fo much employed in adjuft- 
ing or executing fchemes of diverfion, that I had na 
leifure for my tafks, but was furnifhed with exer- 
cifes, and inftructed in my leflbns, by fome kind pa- 
tron of the higher clafies. My mailer, not fufpect- 
ing my deficiency, or unwilling to detect what his 



kmdnefs would not punifh nor his impartiality ex- 
cufe, allowed me to efcape with a flight examination, 
laughed at the pertnefs of my ignorance, and the 
fprightlinefs of my abfurdities, and could not for- 
bear to fliow that he regarded me with fuch tender- 
nefs, as genius and learning can feldom excite. 

From fchool I was difmiffed to the univerfity, where 
I foon drew upon me the notice of the younger flu- 
dents, and was the conftant partner of their morning 
walks, and evening compotations. I was not in- 
deed much celebrated for literature, but was looked 
on with indulgence as a man of parts> who wanted 
nothing but the dulnefs of a fcholar, and might be- 
come eminent whenever he fhould condefcend to la- 
bour and attention. My tutor a while reproached 
me with negligence, and reprefled my fallies with 
fupercilious gravity j yet having natural good-hu- 
mour lurking in his heart, he could not long hold out 
againfl the power of hilarity, but after a few months 
began to relax the mufcles of difciplinarian morofe- 
nefs, received me with fmiles after an elopement, 
and, that he might not betray his truft to his fond*- 
nefs, was content to fpare my diligence by increaf- 
ing his own. 

Thus I continued to diffipate the gloom of colle- 
giate aufterity, to wafte my own life in idlenefs, and 
lure others from their ftudies, till the happy hour 
arrived, when I was fent to London. I foon difco- 
vered the town to be the proper element of youth and 
gaiety, and was quickly diftinguifhed as a wit by the 
ladies, a fpecies of beings only heard of at the uni- 
verfity, whom I had no fooner the happinefs of ap- 
proaching than I devoted all my faculties to the am- 
bition of pleafing them. 

B 2 A wit, 

54 THE RAMBLER. N i 4 f. 

A wit, Mr.>ibler y in the diale<5b of ladies, is not 
always a man, who, by the a<5lion of a vigorous fancy 
upon comprehenfive knowledge, brings diftant ideas 
unexpectedly together, who by fome peculiar acute - 
nefs difcovers refemblance in objects diffimilar to 
common eyes, or by mixing heterogeneous notions 
dazzles the attention with fudden fcintillations of 
conceit. A lady's wit is a man who can make ladies 
laugh, to which, however eafy it may feem, many 
gifts of nature, and attainments of art, muft com- 
monly concur. He that hopes to be conceived as a 
wit in female afiemblies, fhould have a form neither 
fo amiable as to ftrike with admiration, nor fb coarfe 
as to raife difguft, with an underftanding too feeble 
to be dreaded, and too forcible to be defpifed. The 
other parts of the character are more fubjecl to va- 
riation ; it was formerly efiential to a wir, that half 
his back fhouid be covered with a fnowy fleece, and 
at a time yet more remote no man was a wit without 
his boots. In the days of the Spectator a fnufF-box 
feems to have been indifpenfible j but in my time an 
embroidered coat was fufficient, without any precife 
regulation of the reft of his drefs. 

But wJ2;s and boots and fnufF- boxes are vain, with- 

O * 

out a perpetual refolution to be merry, and who can 
always find iupplies of mirth ? Juvenal indeed, in his 
comparifon of the two oppofite philofophers, won- 
ders only whence an unexhaufted fountain of tears 
could be difcharged: but had Juvenal^ with all his 
fpirit, undertaken my province, he would have found 
conftant gaiety equally difficult to be fupported. 
Confider, Mr. Rambler, and compafiionate the con? 
dition of a man, who has taught every company to 
expecl from him a continual feaft of laughter, an 


N 141. THE RAMBLER. 5 

imintermitted ftream of jocularity. The tafk of every 
other flave has an end. The rower in time reaches 
the port; the lexicographer at laft finds the conclufion 
of his alphabets only the haplefs wit has his labour 
always to begin, the call for novelty is never fatisfied, 
and one jeft only raifes expectation of another. 

I know that among men of learning and afperity, 
the retainers to the female world are not much re- 
garded ; yet I cannot but hope that if you knew at 
how dear a rate our honours are purchafed, you 
would look with fome gratulation on our fuccefs, 
and with fome pity on our mifcarriages. Think on 
the mifery of him who is condemned to cultivate 
barrennefs and ranfack vacuity j who is obliged to 
continue his talk when his meaning is fpent, to raife 
merriment without images, to harafs his imagination 
in queft of thoughts which he cannot dart, and his 
memory in purfuit of narratives which he cannot 
overtake; obferve the effort with which he ftrains 
to conceal defpondency by a fmile, and the diftrefs 
in which he fits while the eyes of the company are 
fixed upon him as their laft refuge from filence and 

It were endlefs to recount the fhifts to which I 
have been reduced, or to enumerate the different fpe- 
cies of artificial wit. I regularly frequented coffee - 
houfes, and have often lived a week upon an expref- 
fion, of which he who dropped it did not know the 
value. When fortune did not favour my erratick 
induftry, I gleaned jefts at home from obfolete 
farces. To collect wit was indeed fafe, for I con- 
forced with none that looked much into books, but 

B 3 to 

THE RAMBLER. N a 141. 

to difperfe it was the difficulty. A feeming negli- 
gence was often ufeful, and I have very fuccefsfully 
made a reply not to what the lady had faid, but to 
what it was convenient for me to hear ; for very few 
were fo perverfe as to rectify a miftake which had 
given occafion to a burft of merriment. Sometimes 
I drew the converfation up by degrees to a proper 
point, and produced a conceit which I had treafured 
wp, like fportfmen who boaft of killing the foxes 
which they lodge in the covert. Eminence is how- 
ever in fome happy moments gained at lefs expence ; 
I have delighted a whole circle at one time with a fe- 
ries of quibbles, and made myfelf good company at 
another, by fcalding my fingers, or miftaking a lady's 
lap for my own chair. 

Thefe are artful deceits and ufeful expedients j but 
expedients are at length exhaufted, and deceits de- 
tected. Time itfelf, among other injuries, diminifhes 
the power of pleafing, and I now find in my forty- 
fifth year many pranks and pleafantries very coldly 
received, which had formerly filled a whole room 
with jollity and acclamation. I am under the melan- 
choly neceflity of fupporting that character by ftudy, 
which I gained by levity, having learned too late that 
gaiety muft be recommended by higher qualities, and 
that mirth can never pleafe long but as the efflorefcence 
of a mind loved for its luxuriance, but efteemed for 
its ufefulnefs. 

I am, &?r. 



NUMB. 142. SATURDAY, July 27, 1751. 

a ctvriQ 
IIk;?T ' aAA a.'&a.' 

Ka* yap ctv[A trtruxlo mihagw, aS'l iuxti 
Aw^j (\-rt<pdyu t Ho M R . 

A giant (hepherd here his flock maintains 

Far from the reft, and folitary reigns, 

In ihelter thick of /horrid (hade reclin'dj 

And gloomy mifchiefs labour in his mind. 

A form enormous ! far unlike the race 

Of human birth, in flature or in face. POPE. 

$0 the RAMBLER, 

S I R, 

HAVING been accuftomed to retire annually 
from the town, I lately accepted the invita- 
tion of Eugenioy who has an eftate and feat in a 
diftant county. As we were unwilling to travel 
without improvement, we turned often from the di- 
rect road to pleafe ourfelves with the view of na- 
ture or of art j we examined every wild mountain 
and medicinal fpring, cricicifed every edifice, con- 
templated every ruin, and compared every fcene of 
action with the narratives of hiftorians. By this 
fucceflion of amufements we enjoyed the exercife of 
a journey without fuffering the fatigue, and had no- 
thing to regret but that, by a progrefs fo leifurely 
and gentle, we mifled the adventures, of a poft-chaife, 
and the pleafure of alarming villages with the tumult 

B 4 of 

r THE RAMBLER. N 142, 

of our pafiage, and of difguifing our infignificancy 
by the dignity of hurry. 

The fir ft week after our arrival at Eugenia's houfe 
was palled in receiving vifits from his neighbours, 
who crowded about him with all the eagernefs of be- 
nevolence j fome impatient to learn the news of the 
court and town, that they might be qualified by au- 
thentick information to dictate to the rural politicians 
on the next bowling day j others defirous of his in- 
tereft to accommodate difputes, or of his advice in 
the fettlement of their fortunes and the marriage of 
their children. 

The civilities which he had received were foon 
to be returned j and I palled fome time with great 
fatisfaction in roving through the country, and 
viewing the feats, gardens, and plantations, which 
are fcattered over it. My pleafure would indeed 
have been greater had I been fometimes allowed to 
wander in a park or wildernefs alone, but to appear 
as the friend of Eugenio was an honour not to be 
enjoyed without fome inconveniencies ; fo much 
was every one felicitous for my regard, that I could 
feldom efcape to folitude, or fteal a moment from 
the emulation of complaifance, and the vigilance of 

In thefe rambles of good neighbourhood, we fre- 
quently parTed by a houfe of unufual magnificence. 
While I had my curiofity yet diftracted among many 
novelties, it did not much attract my obfervation j 
but in a Ihort time I could not forbear furveying it 
with particular notice ; for the length of the wall 
which inclofed the gardens, the difpofition of the 
fhades that waved over it, and the canals, of which 

I could 

N 142. T H E R A M B L E R. ? 

I could obtain fome glimpfes through the trees from 
our own windows, gave me reafon to expeft more 
grandeur and beauty than I had yet feen in that pro- 
vince. I therefore enquired, as we rode by it, why 
we never, amongftour excurfions, fpent an hour where 
there was fuch an appearance of fplendour and af- 
fluence. Eugenia told me that the feat which I fo 
much admired, was commonly called in the country 
the haunted houfs, and that no vifits were paid there 
by any of the gentlemen whom I had yet leen. As 
the haunts of incorporeal beings are generally ruin- 
ous, neglected, and dcfolate, I eafily conceived that 
there was fomething to be explained, and told him 
that I fuppofed it only fairy ground, on which we 
might venture by day-light without danger. The 
danger, fays he, is indeed only that of appearing to 
folicit the acquaintance of a man, with whom it is not, 
poflible to converfe without infamy, and who has 
driven from him, by his infolence or malignity, every 
human being who can live without him. 

Our converfation was then accidentally interrupted; 
but my inquifidve humour being now in morion, 
could not reft without a full account of this newly 
difcovered prodigy. I was foon informed that the 
fine houfe and fpacious gardens were haunted by fquire 
Blufter, of whom it was very eafy to learn the 
character, fince nobody had regard for him fuffi- 
cient to hinder them from telling whatever they could 

Squire Blufter is defcended of an ancient family. 
The eftate which his anctrftors had immemorially 
pofleffed was much augmented by captain Blufter y 
who ferved under Drake in the reign of Elizabeth j 


to THE RAMBLER. N 142. 

and the Blufters, who were before only petty gentle- 
men, have from that time frequently reprefented the 
(hire in parliament, been chofen to prefent addreffes, 
and given laws at hunting-matches and races. They 
were eminently hofpitable and popular, till the 
father of this gentleman died of an election. His 
lady went to the grave foon after him, and left the 
heir, then only ten years old, to the care of his 
grandmother, who would not fuffer him to be con- 
trolled, becaufe fhe could not bear to hear him cry ; 
and never fent him to fchool, becaufe fhe was not 
able to live without his company. She taught him 
however very early to infpect the fteward's accounts, 
to dog the butler from the cellar, and to catch the 
Servants at a junket; fo that he was at the age of 
eighteen a complete mafter of all the lower arts of 
domeftick policy, had often on the road detected 
combinations between the coachman and the oftler, 
and procured the difcharge of nineteen maids for 
illicit correfpondence with cottagers and char- 

By the opportunities of parfimony which minority 
affords, and which the probity of his guardians had 
diligently improved, a very large fum of money was 
accumulated, and he found himfelf, when he took; 
his affairs into his own hands, the richeft man in 
the county. It has been long the cuftom of this 
family to celebrate the heir's completion of his 
twenty-firfl year, by an entertainment, at which the 
houfe is thrown open to all that are inclined to enter 
it, and the whole province flocks together as to a 
general feftivity. On this occafion young Blufter 
exhibited the firft tokens of his future eminence, by 


N'i42. THE RAMBLER. xi 

(baking his purfe at an old gentleman, who had 
been the intimate friend of his father, and offering 
to wager a greater fum than he could afford to ven- 
ture ; a practice with which he has, at one time or 
other, infulted every freeholder within ten miles 
round him. 

His next acts of offence were committed in a con- 
tentious and fpiteful vindication of the privileges of 
his manors, and a rigorous and relentlefs profecution 
of every man that prefumed to violate his game. As 
he happens to have no eftate adjoining equal to his 
own, his oppreflions are often borne without refift- 
ance, for fear of a long fuit, of which he delights 
to count the expences without the leaft folicitude 
about the event j for he knows, that where nothing 
but an honorary right is contefted, the poorer anta*- 
gonift muft always fuffer, whatever fhall be the laft 
decifion of the law. 

By the fuccefs of fome of thefe difputes, he has 
fo elated his infolence, and by reflection upon the 
general hatred which they have brought upon him, 
fo irritated his virulence, that his whole life is fpent 
in meditating or executing mifchief. It is his com- 
mon practice to procure his hedges to be broken in 
the night, and then to demand fatisfaftion for da- 
mages which his grounds have fuffered from his 
neighbour's cattle. An old widow was yefterday 
foliciting Eugenia to enable her to replevin her only 
cow then in the pound by fquire Blufter's order, who 
had fent one of his agents to take advantage of her 
calamity, and perfuade her to fell the cow at an 
under rate. He has driven a day-labourer from his 
cottage, for gathering blackberries in a hedge for 


i* THE RAMBLER. N 142. 

his children, and has now an old woman in the 
county-jail for a trefpafs which fhe committed, by 
coming into his ground to pick up acorns for her 

Money, in whatever hands, will confer power. 
Diftrefs will fly to immediate refuge, without much 
confideration of remote confequences. Blufter has 
therefore a defpotick authority in many families, 
whom he has affifted, on preffing occafions, with 
larger fums than they can eafily repay. The only 
vifits that he makes are to thefe houfes of misfor- 
tune, where he enters with the infolence of abfolute 
command, enjoys the terrors of the family, exacts 
their obedience, riots at their charge, and in the 
height of his joy infults the father with menaces, 
and the daughters with obfcenity. 

He is of late fomewhat lefs offenfive ; for one of 
his debtors, after gentle expoftulations, by which he 
was only irritated to grofler outrage, feized him by 
the fleeve, led him trembling into the court-yard, 
and clofed the door upon him in a ftormy night. 
He took his ufual revenge next morning by a writ ; 
but the debt was difcharged by the afliftance of Eu- 

It is his rule to fufTer his tenants to owe him rent^ 
becaufe by this indulgence he fecures to himielf the 
power of feizure whenever he has an inclination to 
amufe himfelf with calamity, and feaft his ears with 
entreaties and lamentations. Yet as he is fome- 
times capricioufly liberal to thofe whom he hap-- 
pens to adopt as favourites, and lets his lands at a 
cheap rate, his farms are never long unoccupied ; 
and when one is ruined by oppreffion, the poflibi- 



lity of better fortune quickly lures another to fuppiy 
his place. 

Such is the life of fquire Blufter ; a man in whofe 
power fortune has liberally placed the means of 
happinefs, but who has defeated all her gifts of 
their end by the depravity of his mind. He is 
wealthy without followers -, he is magnificent with- 
out witneffes; he has birth without alliance, and 
influence without dignity. His neighbours fcorn 
him as a brute; his dependants dread him as 
an oppreflbr; and he has only the gloomy com- 
fort of reflecting, that if he is hated, he is like wile 

I am, S I R, &c. 



NUMB. 143. TUESDAY, July 30, 1751* 

i Moi'eaf comicula rifum 

Furti'vis nudata coloribus. Ho R . 

Left when the birds their various colours claim 

Stripp'd of his ftolen pride, the crow forlorn 

Should ftand the laughter of the publick fcorn. FRANCIS* 

AMONG the innumerable practices by which 
intereft or envy have taught thofe who live 
upon literary fame to difturb each other at their airy 
banquets, one of the mod common is the charge of 
plagiarifm. When the excellence of a new com- 
pofition can no longer be contefted, and malice is 
compelled to give way to the unanimity of applaufe, 
there is yet this one expedient to be tried, by which 
the author may be degraded, though his work be 
reverenced -, and the excellence which we cannot ob- 
fcure, may be fet at fuch a diftance as not to over- 
power our fainter luftre. 

This accufation is dangerous, becaufe, even when 
It is falfe, it may be fometimes urged with probabi- 
lity. Bruyere declares, that we are come into the 
world too late to produce any thing new, that nature 
and life are preoccupied, and that defcription and 
fentiment have been long exhaufted. It is indeed 
certain, that whoever attempts any common topick, 
will find unexpected coincidences of his thoughts 
with thofe of other writers j nor can the niceft judg- 
ment always diftinguiih accidental fimilituds from 
3 artful 


artful imitation. There is likewife a common ftock 
of images, a fettled mode of arrangement, and a 
beaten track of tranfition, which all authors fuppofe 
themfelves at liberty to ufe, and which produce the 
refemblance generally obfervable among cotempo- 
raries. So that in books which bed deferve the 
name of originals, there is little new beyond the 
difpofition of materials already provided j the fame 
ideas and combinations of ideas have been long in 
the pofTelTion of other hands ; and by reftoring to> 
every man his own, as the Romans muft have re- 
turned to their cots from the pofleflion of the world, 
fo the moft inventive and fertile genius would reduce 
his folios to a few pages. Yet the author who imi- 
tates his predeceflbrs only by furnifhing himfelf with 
thoughts and elegancies out of the fame general 
magazine of literature, can with little more pro- 
priety be reproached as a plagiary, than the architect 
can be cenfured as a mean copier of Angelo or Wren> 
becaufe he digs his marble from the fame quarry, 
fquares his ftones by the fame art, and unites them 
in columns of the fame orders. 

Many fubjedls fall under the consideration of an 
author, which being limited by nature can admit 
only of flight and accidental diverfities. All defi- 
nitions of the fame thing muft be nearly the fame ; 
and defcriptions, which are definitions of a more 
lax and fanciful kind, muft always have in fome de- 
gree that refemblance to each other which they all 
have to their object. Different poets defcribing 
the fpring or the fea would mention the zephyrs 
and the Mowers, the billows and the rocks ; reflect- 
ing on human life, they would, without any com- 

t6 THE RAMBLER. N 145. 

munication of opinions, lament the deceitfulnefs of 
hope, the fugacity of pleafure, the fragility of beauty, 
and the frequency of calamity ; and for palliatives 
of thefe incurable miferies, they would concur in re- 
commending kindnefs, temperance, caution, and 

When therefore there are found in Virgil and 
Horace two fimilar pafiages, 

Ha till erunt arfes - 

Parcerefubjeflis, et debellare fuperbos . ViRC. 

To tame the proud, the fetter'd flave to free : 

Thefe are imperial arts, and worthy thee. DRYDEN. 

Imferet lellante pricr, jacentem 

Letiis in bojiem. HOR. 

Let Ctefar fpread his conquefts far, 
Lefs pleas'd to triumph than to fpare. 

it is furely not neceflary to fuppofe with a late critick 
that one is" copied from the other, fince neither 
Virgil nor Horace can be fuppofed ignorant of the 
common duties of humanity, and the virtue of mo- 
deration in fuccefs. 

Cicero and Ovid have on very different occafions 
remarked how little of the honour of a victory be- 
longs to the general, when his foldiers and his for- 
tune have made their deductions > yet why fhould 
Ovid be fufpecled to have owed to fully an obferva- 
tion which perhaps occurs to every man that fees or 
hears of military glories ? 

fully obferves of Achilles y that had not Homer 
written, his valour had been without praife. 


N i4j. THE RAMBLER. 17 

Niji Ilias ilia extitijjet, idem tumulus qui corpus ejus contexerat, 
nomen ejus obrv.ijfct. 

Unlefs the Iliad had been publifhed, his name had been loft 
in the tomb that covered his body. 

Horace tells us with more energy that there were 
brave men before the wars of Trey, but they were loft 
In oblivion for want of a poet. 

Fixer e fortes ante Agamemnona 
Muhi ; fed omnes illachrymabiles 
Urgentur, ignotique longa 
No3e, carent qitia. vatt/acro. 

Before great Agamemnon reign'd> 

Reign 'd kings as great as he, and brave, 
Whofe huge ambition's now contain'd 

In the fmall compafs of a grave : 
In endlefs night they fleep, unwept, unknown 1 
No bard had they to make all time their own. FRANCIS. 

enquires, in the fame oration, why, but for 
fame, we difturb a fhort life with fo many fatigues ? 

Quid eft quod in hoc tarn exiguo vit<e curricula et tarn Brevi, tantis 
Jtos in laborious exerceamus ? 

Why in fo fmall a circuit of life mould we employ ourfelves in fo 
many fatigues ? 

Horace enquires in the fame manner, ,^ . 

Quid brroi fortes jaculamur avo 
Mult a ? 

Why do we aim, with eager ftrife, 

At things beyond the mark of life ? FRJ^ K c I s . 

when our life is of fo fhort duration, why we form 

fuch numerous defigns ? But Horace, as well as 

Vol. VI. C fully, 


, might difcover that records are needful to pre- 
ferve the memory of actions, and that no records were 
fo durable as poems ; either of them might find out 
that life is fhort, and that we confume it in unnecef- 
fary labour. 

There are other flowers of fiction fo widely fcat- 
tered and fo eafily cropped, that it is fcarcely jufl to 
tax the ufe of them as an aft by which any particular 
writer is defpoiled of his garland j for they may be 
faid to have been planted by the ancients in the open 
road of poetry for the accommodation of their fuc- 
ceffors, and to be the right of every one that has art 
to pluck them without injuring their colours or their 
fragrance. The pafiage of Orpheus to hell, with the 
recovery and fecond lofs of Eurydice, have been 
defcribed after Boetius by Pope, in fuch a manner as 
might juftly leave him fufpected of imitation, were 
not the images fuch as they might both have derived 
from more ancient writers. 

<$u<efontes agltant metu 
Ultrices fcelerum dea 
"Jam maejiee lacrymis madent t 
Non Ixionium caput 
Velox prtedpitat rota. 

The pow'rs of vengeance, while they hear, 

Touch'd with compaffion, drop a tear ; 

Ixion's rapid wheel is bound, 

Fix'd in attention to the found. F. LEWIS, 

Thy Hone, O Sy/jpbus, ftands ftill, 
, Jxiott refts upon his wheel, 

And the pale fpeftres dance ! 
The furies link upon their iron beds. 

Ni43- THE RAMBLER. , 9 

, i)inciinur t arbiter 
Umbrarum, rn'iferans, ait 
Donemus, comitem viro t 
Emtam carmine^ conjugem* 

Subdu'd at length, Hell's pitying monarch cry'd, 

The fong rewarding, let us yield the bride. F. LEWIS. 

He fung, and hell confented 

To hear the poet's prayer ; 
Stern Prefer pine relented* 

And gave him back the fair. 

HeU) no&is profte terminus 
Orpheus EurycidenySwww 
yidit t perdidit*, occidit. 

Nor yet the golden verge of day begun, 

When Orpheus^ her unhappy lord, 

Eurydict to life reftor'd, 
At once beheld, and loft, and was undone. F. LEWIS, 

But foon, too foon, the lover turns his eyes : 
Again (he falls, again fhe dies, flie dies ! 

No writer can be fully convicted of imitation, ex- 
cept there is a concurrence of more refemblance than 
can be imagined to have happened by chance; as 
where the fame ideas are conjoined without any na- 
tural feries or neceffary coherence, or where not only 
the thought but the words are copied. Thus it can 
fcarcely be doubted, that in the firft of the following 
pafiages Pope remembered Ovid t and that in the fe- 
cond he copied Cra/baw. 

S&pe pater dixit, ftudium quid inutile tentas ? 

Maonides nullas ipfe reliquit opes 
Spontefua carmen numcros venielat a.d aptos, 

t quod conabar fcribere, ver/ies eraf. OviD. 

C 2 Quit, 



Quit, quit this barren trade, my father cry'd ; 

Ev'n Homer left no riches when he dy'd 

In verfe fpontaneous flovv'd my native {train, 

Forc'd by no fweat or labour of the brain. , F. LEWIS. 

I left no calling for this idle trade ; 

No duty broke, no father difobey'd ; 

While yet a child, ere yet a fool to fame, 

I lifp'd in numbers, for the numbers came. POPE. 

This plain floor, 

Believe me, reader, can fay more 

Than many a braver marble can, 

Here lies a truly honelt man. CRASH AW, 

This modeft ftone, what few vain marbles can, 
May truly fay, Here lies an honeflman. 


Conceits, or thoughts not immediately impreffed 
by fenfible objeds, or neceffarily arifing from the co- 
alition or companion of common fentiments, may 
be with great juftice fufpected whenever they are 
found a fecond time. Thus Waller probably owed 
to Grotius an elegant compliment. 

Here lies the learned Savil's heir, 

So early wife, and lailing fair, 

That none, except her years they told, 

Thought her a child, or thought her old. WALLER. 

Usica lux ftfcl':, genitoris gloria, nemo 
Quern fuerum, nemo credidlt effcfenem* 

The age's miracle, his father's joy ! 

Nor old you wou'd pronounce him, nor a boy. 



And Prior was indebted for a pretty illuftration to 
Alleyne\ poetical hiftory of Henry the Seventh. 



For nought but light itfelf, itfelf can {how, 
And only kings can write, what kings can do. 


Voijr mufick's power, your mufick muft difclofe, 

For what light is, 'tis only light that Ihews. PRIOR.. 

And with yet more certainty may the fame writer 
be cenfured, for endeavouring the clandestine ap- 
propriation of a thought which he borrowed, furely 
without thinking himfelf difgraced, from an epigram 
of Plato. 


Venus, take my votive 
Since I am not what I was ; 
What from this day I fhall be, 
Venus, let me never fee. 

As not every inftance of fimilitude can be con- 
fidered as a proof of imitation, fo not every imitation 
ought to be ftigmatized as plagiarifm. The adop- 
tion of a noble fentiment, or the infenion of a bor- 
rowed ornarrjent, may fometimes difplay fo much 
judgment as will almoft compenfate for invention ^ 
and an inferior genius may, without any imputation 
of fervility^ purfue the path of the ancients,, pro- 
vided he declines to tread in their fqotfteps. 

a* THE RAMBLER. N 144. 

NUMB. 144. SATURDAY, Augujl 3, 1751, 

Daphnidis arcutn 

fregifti et calamos : qute tu, perverfe Menaka t 
Et cum 'vidiftt fuero donata, dolebas ; 
Etfe non aliqua nocuij/es, tnortuus effes. Vi R G. 

The bow of Daphnis and the fhafts you broke ; 

When the fair boy receiv'd the gift of right; 

And but for mifchief, you had dy'd for fpite. DRYDEN. 

IT is impoffible to mingle in converfation with- 
out obferving the difficulty with which a new 
name makes its way into the world. The firft ap- 
pearance of excellence unites multitudes againft it ; 
unexpected oppofition rifes up on every fidej the 
celebrated and the obfcure join in the confederacy ; 
fubtility furniihes arms to impudence, and invention 
leads on credulity. 

The ftrength and unanimity of this alliance is 
not eafily conceived. It might be expected that 
no man fhould fuffer his heart to be inflamed with 
malice, but by injuries; that none fhould bufy 
himfelf in contefting the pretenfions of another, 
but when fome right of his own was involved in 
the queftionj that at leaft hoftilities commenced 
without caufe, fhould quickly ceafe j that the armies 
of malignity fhould foon difperfe, when no com- 
mon intereft could be found to hold them together; 
and that the attack upon a rifing character fhould be 


NO 144. THE RAMBLER. 23 

left to thofe who had fornething to hope or fear from 
the event. 

The hazards of thofe that afpire to eminence, 
would be much diminifhed if they had none but 
acknowledged rivals to encounter. Their enemies 
would then be few, and what is of yet greater im- 
portance, would be known. But what caution is 
fufficient to ward off the blows of invifible aflailants, 
or what force can (land againft uninterrupted attacks, 
and a continual fucceffion of enemies ? Yet fuch is 
the ftate of the world, that no fooner can any man 
emerge from the crowd, and fix the eyes of the pub- 
lick upon him, than he ftands as a mark to the arrows 
of lurking calumny, and receives in the tumult of 
hoftility, from diftant and from namelefs hands, 
wounds not always eafy to be cured. 

It is probable that the onfet againft the candi- 
dates for renown, is originally incited by thofe 
who imagine themfelves in danger of fuffering by 
their fuccefs ; but when war is once declared, 
volunteers flock to the llandard, multitudes follow 
the camp only for want of employment, and flying 
fquadrons are difperfed to every part, fo pleafed 
with an opportunity of mifchief that they toil with- 
out profpecT: of praife, and pillage without hope of 

When any man has endeavoured to deferve 
diftindlion, he will be furprifed to hear himfelf 
cenfured where he could not expecl to have been 
named; he will find the utmoft acrimony of ma- 
lice among thofe whom he never could have of- 

C 4 As 

24 THE RAMBLER. N* 144. 

As there are to be found in the fervice of envy 
men of every diverfity of temper and degree of 
underftanding, calumny is diffufed by all arts and 
methods of propagation. Nothing is too grofs or 
too refined, too cruel or too trifling to be prac- 
tifed ; very little regard is had to the rules of ho- 
nourable hoftility, but every weapon is accounted 
lawful, and thofe that cannot make a thruft at life 
are content to keep themfelves in play with petty 
malevolence, to teize with feeble blows and impo- 
tent difturbance. 

But as the induftry of obfervation has divided the 
moft mifcellaneous and confufed afTemblages into 
proper claffes, and ranged the infects of the fu pri- 
mer, that torment us with their drones or flings, by 
their feveral tribes ; the perfecutors of merit, not- 
withftanding their numbers, may be likewife com- 
modioufly diftinguifhed into Roarers, Whifperers, 
and Moderators. 

The Roarer is an enemy rather terrible than dan- 
gerous. He has no other qualification for a cham- 
pion of controverfy than a hardened front and ftrong 
voice. Having feldom fo much defire to confute as 
to filence, he depends rather upon vociferation than 
argument, and has very little care to adjuft one 
part of his accufation to another, to prelerve de- 
cency in his language, or probability in his narra- 
tives. He has always a ftore of reproachful epi- 
thets and contemptuous appellations, ready to be 
produced as occafion may require, which by con- 
ftant ufe he pours out with refifllefs volubility. If 
the wealth of a trader is mentioned, he without he- 


Ni44. THE RAMBLER. 25 

fitation devotes him to bankruptcy ; if the beauty 
and elegance of a lady be commended, he wonders 
how the town can fall in love with ruftick deformity; 
if a new performance of genius happens to be cele- 
brated, he pronounces the writer a hopelefs idiot, 
without knowledge of books or life, and without the 
underftanding by which it muft be acquired. His 
exaggerations are generally without effect upon thofe 
whom he compels to hear them; and though it will 
fometimes happen that the timorous are awed by his 
violence, and the credulous miftake his confidence 
for knowledge, yet the opinions which he endeavours 
to fupprefs foon recover their former ftrength, as the 
trees that bend to the temped erect themfelves again 
when its force is pad. 

The Whifperer is more dangerous. He eafily 
gains attention by a foft addrefs, and excites curio- 
fity by an air of importance. As fecrets are not to 
be made cheap by promifcuous publication, he 
calls a fele<5t audience about him, and gratifies 
their vanity with an appearance of truft by com- 
municating his intelligence in a low voice. Of the 
trader he can tell that though he feems to manage 
an extenfive commerce, and talks in high terms 
of the funds, yet his wealth is not equal to his re- 
putation ; he has lately fuffered much by an expen- 
five project, and had a greater (hare than is acknow- 
ledged in the rich fhip that perifhed by the ftorm. 
Of the beauty he has little to fay, but that they who 
fee her in a morning do not difcover all thofe graces 
which are admired in the park. Of the writer he 
affirms with great certainty, that though the excel- 
lence of the wo.rk be inconteftable, be can claim 


26 THE RAMBLER. N 144. 

but a fmall part of the reputation ; that he owed 
mod of the images and fentiments to a fecret friend; 
and that the accuracy and equality of the ftyle was 
produced by the fucceffive correction of the chief 
criticks of the age. 

As every one is pleafed with imagining that he 
knows fomething not yet commonly divulged, 
fecret hiftory eafily gains credit; but it is for the 
moft part believed only while it circulates in whif- 
pers; and when once it is openly told, is openly 

The moft pernicious enemy is the man of Mo- 
deration. Without intereft in the queftion, or 
any motive but honeft curiofity, this impartial and 
zealous enquirer after truth is ready to hear either 
fide, and always diipofed to kind interpretations 
and favourable opinions. He hath heard the 
trader's affairs reported with great variation, and 
after a diligent comparifon of the evidence, con- 
cludes it probable that the fplendid fuperftructure of 
bufinefs being originally built upon a narrow bafis, 
has lately been found to totter - t but between dila- 
tory payment and bankruptcy there is a great dif- 
tance; many merchants have fupported themfelves 
by expedients for a time, without any final injury to 
their creditors; and what is loft by one adventure 
may be recovered by another. He believes that a 
young lady pleafed with admiration, and defirous to 
make perfect what is already excellent, may heighten 
her charms by artificial improvements, but furely 
moft of her beauties muft be genuine, and who can 
fay that he is wholly what he endeavours to appear? 
The author he knows to be a man of diligence, who 


Ni44- THE RAMBLER. 27 

perhaps does not fparkle with the fire of Homer, but 
has the judgment to difcover his own deficiencies, 
and to fupply them by the help of others ; and in 
his opinion modefty is a quality fo amiable and rare, 
that it ought to find a patron wherever it appears, 
and may juftly be preferred by the publick fuffrage 
to petulant wit and oftentatious literature. 

He who thus difcovers failings with unwillingnefs, 
and extenuates the faults which cannot be denied, 
puts an end at once to doubt or vindication ; his 
hearers repofe upon his candour and veracity, and 
admit the charge without allowing the excule. 

Such are the arts by which the envious, the idle 
the peeviih, and the thoughtlefs, obftrucl: that worth 
which they cannot equal, and by artifices thus eafy > 
fordid, and deteftable, is induftry defeated, beauty 
blafted, and genius deprefled. 

28 THE RAMBLER. N 145, 

NUMB. 145. TUESDAY, Augujl 6, 1751. 

Non Jt prhres Mteciiius tenet 
Sedes. Hcmerus, Pindaric a; latent, 
Ce<fque & Alc&i minaces 

raves Camasnte. HOR. 

What though the mufe her Homer thrones 

High above all the immortal quire ; 
Nor Pindar's raptures fhe difowns, 

Nor hides the plaintive Cccan lyre : 
Mc<eus ftrikes the tyrant foul with dread, 
Nor yet is grave Stejichorus unread. FRANCIS.' 

IT is allowed that vocations and employments of 
leaft dignity are of the moft apparent ufe ; that 
the meaneft artifan or manufadlurer contributes more 
to the accommodation of life, than the profound 
fcholar and argumentative theorift ; and that the 
publick would fuflfer lefs prefent inconvenience from 
the banidiment of philofophers than from the extinc- 
tion of any common trade. 

Some have been fo forcibly ft nick with this obfer- 
vation, that they have, in the firft warmth of their 
difcovery, thought it reafonable to alter the common 
diftribution of dignity, and ventured to condemn 
mankind of univerfal ingratitude. For juftice ex- 
acts, that thofe by whom we are moft benefited fhould 
be moft honoured. And what labour can be more 
ufeful than that which procures to families and com- 
munities thofe neceflaries which fupply the wants of 


N 145. THE RAMBLER. 29 

nature, or thofe conveniencies by which eafe, fecu- 
rity, and elegance are conferred ? 

This is one of the innumerable theories which the 
firft attempt to reduce them into practice certainly 
deftroys. If we eftimate dignity by immediate ufe- 
fulnefs, agriculture is undoubtedly the firft and nobleft 
fcience j yet we fee the plow driven, the clod broken, 
the manure fpread, the feeds fcattered, and the harvefl 
reaped, by men whom thofe that feed upon their in- 
duftry will never be perfuaded to admit into the 
fame rank with heroes, or with fages; and who, af- 
ter all the confefiions which truth may extort in fa- 
vour of their occupation, muft be content to fill up 
the loweft .clafs of the commonwealth, to form the 
bafe of the pyramid of fubordination, and lie buried 
in obfcurhy thernfelves, while they fupport all that 
is fplendid, confpicuous, or exalted. 

It will be found upon a clofer infpection, that this 
part of the conduct of mankind is by no means con- 
trary to reafon or equity. Remuneratory honours 
are proportioned at once to the ufefulnefs and diffi- 
culty of performances, and are properly adjufted by 
comparifon of the mental and corporeal abilities, 
which they appear to employ. That work, how- 
ever neceflary, which is carried on only by mufcular 
ftrengthand manual dexterity, is not of equal efteem, 
in the confideration of rational beings, with the tafks 
that exercife the intellectual powers, and require the 
active vigour of imagination, or the gradual and la- 
borious investigations of reafon. 

The merit of all manual occupations feems to 
terminate in the inventor j and furely the firft ages 
cannot be charged with ingratitude ; fmce thofe who 


jo THE RAMBLER. N* 145. 

civilized barbarians, and taught them how to fecure 
themfelves from cold and hunger, were numbered 
amongft their deities. But thefe arts once difco- 
vered by philofophy, and facilitated by experience, 
are afterwards pradtifed with very little afliftance 
from the faculties of the foul ; nor is any thing ne- 
ceflary to the regular difcharge of thefe inferior 
duties, beyond that rude obfervation which the moft 
fluggifh intellect may practife, and that induftry 
which the ftimulations of necefiity naturally enforce. 

Yet though the refufal of ftatues and panegyrick 
to thofe who employ only their hands and feet in the 
iervice of mankind may be eafily juftified, I am far 
from intending to incite the petulance of pride, to 
juftify the fupercilioufnefs of grandeur, or to inter- 
cept any part of that tendernefs and benevolence 
which by the privilege of their common nature one 
Ipan may claim from another. 

That it would be neither wife nor equitable to dif- 
courage the hufbandman, the labourer, the miner, or 
the fmith, is generally granted -, but there is another 
race of beings equally obfcure and equally indigent, 
who, becaufe their ufefulnefs is lefs obvious to vul- 
gar apprehenfions, live unrewarded and die unpitied, 
and who have been long expofed to infult without a 
defender, and to cenfure without an apologift. 

The authors of London were formerly computed by 
Swiff at feveral thoufands, and there is not any rea- 
fon for fufpecling that their number has decreafed. 
Of thefe only a very few can be faid to produce, or 
endeavour to produce new ideas, to extend any prin- 
ciple of icience, or gratify the imagination with any 
uncommon train of images or contexture of events ; 


N 145, THE RAMBLER. 31 

the reft, however laborious, however arrogant, can 
only be confidered as the drudges of the pen, the 
manufacturers of literature, who have fet up for au- 
thors, either with or without a regular initiation, 
and, like other artificers, have no other care than to 
deliver their tale of wares at the ftated time. 

It has been formerly imagined, that he who in- 
tends the entertainment or inftruction of others, 
muft feel in himfelf fome peculiar impulfe of ge- 
nius ; that he muft watch the happy minute in 
which his natural fire is excited, in which his mind 
is elevated with nobler fentiments, enlightened with 
clearer views, and invigorated with ftronger compre- 
henfion ; that he muft carefully felect his thoughts 
and polifli his expreffions ; and animate his efforts 
with the hope of raifing a monument of learning, 
which neither time nor envy fhall be able to de- 

But the authors whom I am now endeavouring to 
recommend have been too long hackneyed in the ways 
cf men to indulge the chimerical ambition of immor-r 
tality ; they have feldom any claim to the trade of 
writing, but that they have tried fome other without 
jfucceis ; they perceive no particular fummons to 
compofition, except the found of the clock ; they 
have no other rule than the law or the fafhion for 
admitting their thoughts or rejecting them; and 
about the opinion of pofterity they have little fo- 
licitude, for their productions are feldom intended to 
remain in the world longer than a week. 

That fuch authors are not to be rewarded with 
praife is evident, fince nothing can be admired when 
it ceafes to exifti but furely though they cannot 


afplre to honour, they may be exempted from igno^ 
miny, and adopted in that order of men which de- 
ferves our kindnefs, though not our reverence. 
Thefe papers of the day, the Ephemera of learning, 
have ufes more adequate to the purpofes of com- 
mon life than more pompous and durable volumes. 
If it is neceffary for every man to be more acquaint- 
ed with his contemporaries than with pad genera- 
tions, and to rather know the events which may 
immediately affect his fortune or quiet, than the 
revolutions of ancient kingdoms, in which he has 
neither poiTeffions nor expectations ; if it be pleafing 
to hear of the preferment and cifmiffion of ftatef- 
men, the birth of heirs, and the marriage of beau- 
ties, the humble author of journals and gazettes 
muft be confidered as a liberal difpenfer of benefi- 
ficial knowledge. 

Even the abridger, compiler, and tranflator, though 
their labours cannot be ranked with thofe of the diur- 
nal hifloriographer, yet muft not be rafhly doomed to 
annihilation. Every fize of readers requires a genius 
of correfpondent capacity ; fome delight in abftra&s 
and epitomes, becaufe they want room in their me- 
mory for long details, and content themfelves with 
effects, without enquiry after caufes; fome minds are 
overpowered by fplendor of fentiment, as fome eyes 
are offended by a glaring light ; fuch will gladly 
contemplate an author in an humble imitation, as 
we look without pain upon the fun in the water. 

As every writer has his ufe, every writer ought to 
have his patrons ; and fince no man, however high 
he may now (land, can be certain that he (hall not 
be foon thrown down from his elevation by criticifm 


N 14$. THE RAMBLER. 33 

or caprice, the common intereft of learning requires 
that her fons fhould ceafe from inteftine hoftilities, 
and inftead of facrificing each other to malice and 
contempt, endeavour to avert perfecution from the 
meaneft of their fraternity. 

NUMB. 146. SATURDAY, Auguft 10, 1751. 

Sunt illic duo, trefoe, qui re<vol<vant 

Noftrarum tineas ineptiarum : 

Sed cumfponjto, fabulteque laffie 

De fcorpo fuerint et incitato, MA R T. 

'Tis poffible that one or two 

Thefe fooleries of mine may view ; 

But then the bettings muft be o'er, 

Nor Crab or Guilders tallc'd.of more. F. LEWIS, 

NO N E of the projects or defigns which exer- 
cife the mind of man are equally fubject to 
obflructions and difappointments with the purfuit of 
fame. Riches cannot eafily be denied to them who 
have fomething of greater value to offer in exchange; 
he whofe fortune is endangered by litigation, will 
not refufe to augment the wealth of the lawyer j he 
whofe days are darkened by languor, or whofe nerves 
are excruciated by pain, is compelled to pay tribute 
to the fcience of healing. But praife may be al- 
ways omitted without inconvenience. When once 
a man has made celebrity neceffary to his happinefs, 
he has put it in the power of the weakeft and moft 
timorous malignity, if not to take away his fatisfac- 
VOL. VI. D don, 

34 tHE & AMBLER. N e 146. 

tion, at lead to withhold it. His enemies may in- 
dulge their pride by airy negligence, and gratify 
their malice by quiet neutrality. They that could 
never have injured a character by invectives, may 
combine to annihilate it by filence; as the women 
of Rome threatened to put an end to con qu eft and 
dominion, by fupplying no children ta the common- 

When a writer has with long toil produced a work 
intended to burft upon mankind with unexpected 
luftre, and withdraw the attention of the learned 
world from every other controverfy or enquiry, he 
is feldom contented to wait long without the enjoy- 
ment of his new praifes. With an imagination full of 
his own importance, he walks out like a monarch in 
difguife, to learn the various opinions of his readers. 
Prepared to feaft upon admiration ; compofed to en- 
counter cenfures without emotion ; and determined 
not to fuffer his quiet lo be injured by a fenfibility 
too exquifite of praife or blame, but to laugh with 
equal contempt at vain objections and injudicious 
commendations, he enters the places of mingled con- 
verfation, fits down to his tea in an obfcure corner, 
and while he appears to examine a file of antiquated 
journals, catches the converfation of the whole room. 
He liftens, but hears no mention of his book, and 
therefore fuppofes that he has difappointed his curi- 
ofity by delay ; and that as men of learning would 
naturally begin their converfation with fuch a won- 
derful novelty, they had digreiTed to other fubjects 
before his arrival. The company difperfes, and their 
places are fupplied by others equally ignorant, or 
equally carcleis. The fame expectation hurries him 


N 146. THE RAMBLER. $$ 

to another place, from which the fame difappoint- 
ment drives him foon away. His impatience then 
grows violent and tumultuous ; he ranges over the 
town with reftlefs curiofity, and hears in one quarter 
of a cricket-match, in another of a pick-pocket ; is 
told by fome of an unexpected bankruptcy ; by others 
of a turtle-feaft ; is fometimes provoked by impor- 
tunate enquiries after the white bear, and fometimes 
\vith praifes of the dancing dogj he is afterwards 
entreated to give his judgment upon a wager about 
the height of the Monument \ invited to fee a foot- 
race in the adjacent villages ; defired to read a lu- 
dicrous advertifement j or confulted about the moft 
effectual method of making enquiry after a favourite 
cat. The whole world is bufied in affairs, which 
he thinks below the notice of reafonable creatures, 
and which are neverthelefs fufficient to withdraw all 
regard from his labours and his merits. 

He refolves at laft to violate his own modefty, and 
to recall the talkers from their folly by an enquiry 
after himfelf. He finds every one provided with 
an anfweri one has feen the work advertifed, but 
never met with any that had read it; another has 
been fo often impofed upon by fpecious titles, that 
he never buys a book till its character is eftabliihed ; 
a third wonders what any man can hope to produce 
after fo many writers of greater eminence j the next 
has enquired after the author, but can hear no ac- 
count of him, and therefore fufpects the name to be 
fictitious j and another knows him to be a man con- 
demned by indigence to write too frequently what 
he does not underftand. 

D 2 Many 

36 THE RAMBLER. N 146. 

Many are the confoladons with which the unhappy 
author endeavours to allay his vexation, and fortify 
his patience. He has written with too little indul- 
gence to the underftanding of common readers j he 
has fallen upon an age in which folid knowledge, 
and delicate refinement, have given way to a low mer- 
riment, and idle buffoonery, and therefore no writer 
can hope for diftinction, who has any higher pur- 
pofe than to raife laughter. He finds that his ene- 
mies, fuch as fuperiority will always raife, have 
been induftrious, while his performance was in the 
prefs, to vilify and blaft it ; and that the bookfeller, 
whom he had refolved to enrich, has rivals that ob- 
ftruct the circulation of his copies. He at laft re- 
pofes upon the confideration, that the nobleft works 
of learning and genius have always made their way 
(lowly againft ignorance and prejudice j and that re- 
putation, which is never to be loft, muft be gradual- 
ly obtained, as animals of longed life are obferved 
not foon to attain their full ftature and ftrength. 

By fuch arts of voluntary delufion does every man 
endeavour to conceal his own unimportance from 
himfelf. It is long before we are convinced of the 
imall proportion which every individual bears to the 
collective body of mankind j or learn how few can 
be interefted in the fortune of any fingle man ; how 
little vacancy is left in the world for any new object 
of attention j to how fmall extent the brighteft blaze 
of merit can be fpread amidft the mifts of bufmefe 
and of folly ; and how foon it is clouded by the in- 
tervention of other novelties. Not only the writer 
of books, but the commander of armies, and the 
deliverer of nations, will eafily outlive all noify and 



popular reputation : he may be celebrated for a 
time by the publick voice, but his actions and his 
name will foon be confidered as remote and unaffecl- 
rng, and be rarely mentioned but by thole whole al- 
liance gives them fome vanity to gratify by frequent 

It feems not to be fufficiently confidered how little 
renown can be admitted in the world. Mankind are 
kept perpetually bufy by their fears or defires, and 
have not more leifure from their own affairs, than to 
acquaint themfelves with the accidents of the cur- 
rent day. Engaged in contriving fome refuge from 
calamity, or in fhortening the way to fome new 
pofleffion, they feldom fuffer their thoughts to wander 
to the paft or future ; none but a few foljtary fludents 
have leifure to enquire jnt;o the claims of ancient 
heroes or fages ; and names which hoped to range 
over kingdoms and continents fhrink at lafl into 
cloifters qr colleges. 

Nor is it certain, that even of thefe dark and nar- 
row habitations, thefe laft retreats of fame, the pof- 
feffion will be long kept. Of men devoted to litera- 
ture very few extend their views beyond fome par- 
ticular fcience, and the greater part feldom enquire, 
even in their own profeffion, for any authors but 
thofe whom the prefent mode of ftudy happens to 
force upon their notice ; they defire not to fill their 
minds with unfafhionable knowledge, but contented- 
ly refign to oblivion thofe books which they now find 
cenfured or neglected. 

The hope of fame is necefTarily connected with 
fuch confiderations as muft abate the ardor of con- 
fidence, and reprefs the vigour of purfuit. Who- 

D 3 ever 

58 THE RAMBLER. N 146. 

ever claims renown from any kind of excellence, 
expects to fill the place which is now pofTefled by 
another j for there are already names of every clafs 
fufficient to employ all that will defire to remember 
them j and furely he that is pufhing his predeceflbrs 
into the gulph of obfcurity, cannot but fometimes 
fufpect, that he muft himfelf fink in like manner, 
and as he ftands upon the fame precipice, be fwept 
away with the fame violence. 

It fometimes happens, that fame begins when life 
is at an end : but far the greater number of candi- 
dates for applaufe have owed their reception in the 
world to fome favourable cafualties, and have there- 
fore immediately funk into neglect, when death 
ftripped them of their cafual influence, and neither 
fortune nor patronage operated in their favour. 
Among thofe who have better claims to regard, the 
honour paid to their memory is commonly propor- 
tionate to the reputation which they enjoyed in their 
lives, though ftill growing fainter, as it is at a greater 
diftance from the firft emiflion ; and fmce it is fo 
difficult to obtain the notice of contemporaries, how 
little is it to be hoped from future times? What can 
merit effect by its own force, when the help of art 
or friendfhip can fcarcely fupport it ? 

N 147, THE RAMBLER. 39 

NUMB. 147. TUESDAY, Augujl 13, 1751. 

TU nihil in<ui(a dices faciefve Minerva. Ho a . 

You are of too quick a fight, 

Not to difcern which way your talent lies. ROSCOM MON, 

To the RAMBLER. 


AS little things grow great by continual accumula- 
tion, I hope you will not think the dignity of 
your character impaired by an account of a ludicrous 
perfecution, which, though it produces no fcenes of 
horror or of ruin, yet, by incefifant importunity of 
vexation, wears away my happinefs, and confumes 
thofe years which nature feems particularly to have 
affigned to cheerfulnefs, in filent anxiety and helplefs 

I am the eldeft fon of a gentleman, who having 
inherited a large eftate from his anceftors, and feel- 
ing no defire either to increafe or leffen it, has from 
the time of his marriage generally refided at his own 
feat j where, by dividing his time among the duties 
of a father, a mafter, and a magiftrate, the fludy of 
literature, and the offices of civility, he finds means 
to rid himfelf of the day, without any of thofe 
amufements, which all thofe with whom my refidence 
in this place has made me acquainted, think rjecef- 
fary to lighten the burthen of exiftence, 

P 4 When 

40 THE RAMBLER. N 147. 

When my age made me capable of inftruction, my 
father prevailed upon a gentleman, long known at 
Oxford for the extent of his learning and purity of 
his manners, to undertake my education. The re- 
gard with which I faw him treated difpofed me to 
confider his inftructions as important, and I there- 
fore foon formed a habit of attention, by which I 
made very quick advances in different kinds of learn- 
ing, and heard, perhaps too often, very flattering 
comparifons of my own proficiency with that of 
others, either lefs docile by nature, or lefs happily 
forwarded by inftruction. I was carefied by all that 
exchanged vifits with my father ; and as young men 
are with little difficulty taught to judge favourably of 
themfelves, began to think that clofe application 
was no longer neceflary, and that the time was now 
come when I was at liberty to read only for amufe- 
ment, and was to receive the reward of my fatigues 
in praife and admiration. 

While I was thus banqueting upon my own per- 
fections, and longing in fecret to efcape from tutor- 
age, my father's brother came from London to pafs 
a fummer at his native place. A lucrative employ- 
ment which he pofTeffed, and a fondnefs for the con- 
verfation and diverfions of the gay part of mankind, 
had fo long kept him from rural excurfions, that I 
had never feen him fince my infancy. My curiofity 
was therefore ftrongly excited by the hope of obferv- 
ing a character more nearly, which I had hitherto re- 
verenced only atadiftance. 

. . From all private and intimate converfation I was 
long withheld by the perpetual confluence of 
vifitants with whom the firft news of my uncle's 


N 147- THE RAMBLER. 41 

arrival crowded the houfe ; but was amply recom- 
penfed by feeing an exact and punctilious practice 
of the arts of a courtier, in all the flratagems of en- 
dearment, the gradations of refpect, and variations 
of courtefy. I remarked with what juftice of diftri- 
bution he divided his talk to a wide circle ; with 
what addrefs he offered to every man an occafion of 
indulging fome favourite topick, or difplaying fome 
particular attainment the judgment with which he 
regulated his enquiries after the abfent ; and the care 
with which he fhewed all the companions of his early 
years how ftrongly they were infixed in his memory, 
by the mention of paft incidents, and the recital of 
puerile kindneffes, dangers, and frolicks. I foon 
difcovered that he pofTefted fome fcience of graciouf- 
nefs and attraction which books had not taught, and 
of which neither I nor my father had any knowledge ; 
that he had the power of obliging thofe whom he did 
not benefit; that he diffufed, upon his curfory be* 
haviour and mod trifling actions, a glofs of foftnefs 
and delicacy by which every one was dazzled ; and 
that by fome occult method of captivation, he ani- 
mated the timorous, foftened the fupercilious, and 
opened the referved. I could not but repine at the 
inelegance of my own manners which left me no. 
hopes but not to offend, and at the inefficacy of ruf- 
tick benevolence which gained no friends but by real 

My uncle faw the veneration with which I caught 
every accent of his voice, and watched every motion 
of his hand ; and the awkward diligence with which 
I endeavoured to imitate his embrace of fondnefs, 
and his bow of reipect. He was, like others, eafily 



flattered by an imitator by whom he could not fear 
ever to be rivalled, and repaid my affiduities with 
compliments and profeflions. Our fondnefs was fo 
increafed by a mutual endeavour to pleafe each other, 
that when he returned to London, he declared himfelf 
unable to leave a nephew fo amiable and fo accom- 
plifhed behind him ; and obtained my father's per- 
miilion to enjoy my company for a few months, by 
a promife to initiate me in the arts of politenefs, and 
introduce me into publick life. 

The courtier had little inclination to fatigue, and 
therefore, by travelling very flowly, afforded me 
time for more loofe and familiar converfation j but 
I foon found, that by a few enquiries which he was 
not well prepared to fatlsfy, I had made him weary 
of his young companion. His element was a mixed 
afiembly, where ceremony and healths, compliments 
and common topicks, kept the tong'ue employed with 
very little affiftance from memory or reflexion ; but 
in the chariot, where he was neceflitated to fupport 
a regular tenour of converfation, without any relief 
from a new comer, or any power of darting into gay 
digreffions, or deftroying argument by a jeft, he foon 
difcovered that poverty of ideas which had been hi- 
therto concealed under the tinfel of politenefs. The 
firft day he entertained me with the novelties and 
wonders with which I fhould be aftonifhed at my en- 
trance into London, and cautioned me with apparent 
admiration of his own wifdom a.gainft the arts by 
which rufticity is frequently deluded. The fame de- 
tail and the fame advice he would have repeated on 
the fecond day j but as I every moment diverted the 
difcourfe to the hiilory of the towns by which we 


N 147. THE RAMBLER. 43 

patted, or fome other fubject of learning or of rea- 
fon, he foon loft his vivacity, grew peevifti and filent, 
wrapped his cloke about him, compofed himfelf to 
{lumber, and referved his gaiety for fitter auditors. 

At length I entered London, and my uncle was 
reinftated in his fuperiority. He awaked at once to 
loquacity as foon as our wheels rattled on the pave- 
ment, and told me the name of every ftreet as we 
crofied it, and owner of every houfe as we patted by. 
He prefented me to my aunt, a lady of great emi- 
nence for the number of her acquaintances, and 
fplendor of her afiemblies, and either in kindnefs or 
revenge confuked with her, in my prefence, how I 
might be moft advantageoufly drefled for my firft 
appearance, and moft expeditioufly difencumbered 
from my villatick baflifulnefs. My indignation at 
familiarity thus contemptuous flufhed in my face; 
they miftook anger for fhame, and alternately ex- 
erted their eloquence upon the benefits of publick 
education, and the happinefs of an afiurance early 

Afiurance is indeed the only qualification to which 
they feem to have annexed merit, and aflurance 
therefore is perpetually recommended to me as the 
fupply of every defect, and the ornament of every 
excellence. I never fit filent in company when fe- 
cret hiftory is circulating, but I am reproached for 
want of atturance. If I fail to return the ftated an- 
fwer to a compliment ; if I am difconcerted by un- 
expected raillery j if I blufli when I am difcovered 
gazing on a beauty, or hefitate when I find myfelf 
embarratted in an argument j if I am unwilling to 
talk of what I do not underftand, or timorous in un- 

44 THE RAMBLER. N 147. 

dertaking offices which I cannot gracefully perform j 
if I fuffer a more lively tatler to recount the cafualties 
of a game, or a nimbler fop to pick up a fan, I am 
cenfured between pity and contempt, as a wretch 
doomed to grovel in obfcurity for want of affurance. 

I have found many young perfons haraffed in the 
fame manner, by thofe to whom age has given nothing 
but the affurance which they recommend ; and there ^ 
fore cannot but think it ufeful to inform them, that 
cowardice and delicacy are not to be confounded ; and 
that he whofe ftupidity has armed him againft the 
ihafts of ridicule, will always aft and fpeak with 
greater audacity, than they whofe fenfibility reprefies 
their ardor, and who dare never let their confidence 
outgrow their abilities. 

Ni43. THE RAMBLER, 45 

NUMB. 148. SATURDAY, Auguft 17, 1751. 

Me pater fte-vis oneret catenis 
^uod viro elevens mifero peperci, 
Me 'vel extremis Numidarum in oris 

Clajfe relcget. HOR, 

Me let my father load with chains, 
Or banim to Numidia's fartheft plains ! 

My crime, that I a loyal wife, 
In kind compaflion fav'd my hufband's life. FRANCIS. 

POLITICIANS remark, that no oppreffion 
is fo heavy or lading as that which is inflicted 
by the perverfion and exorbitance of legal authority. 
The robber may be feized, and the invader repelled, 
whenever they are found; they who pretend no right 
but that of force, may by force be punifhed or fup- 
prefled. But when plunder bears the name of im- 
ped, and murder is perpetrated by a judicial fen- 
tence, fortitude is intimidated, and wifdom con- 
founded: refiftance (brinks from an alliance with re- 
bellion, and the villain remains fecure in the robes 
of the magiftrate. 

Equally dangerous and equally deteftable are the 
cruelties often exercifed in private families, under 
the venerable fanction of parental authority; the 
power which we are taught to honour from the firft 
moments of reafonj which is guarded from infult 
and violation by all that can imprefs awe upon the 
mind of man ; and which therefore may wanton in 
cruelty without contrpul, and trample the bounds of 


46 THE RAMBLER. N* 148. 

right with innumerable tranfgrefilons, before duty 
and piety will dare to feek redrefs, or think them- 
felves at liberty to recur to any other means of deli- 
verance than fupplications by which infolence is elat- 
ed, and tears by which cruelty is gratified. 

It was for a long time imagined by the Romans, 
that no fon could be the murderer of his father; and 
they had therefore no punifhment appropriated to 
parricide. They feem likewife to have believed with 
equal confidence, that no father could be cruel to 
his child 5 and therefore they allowed every man the 
fupreme judicature in his own houfe, and put the 
lives of his offspring into his hands. But experi- 
ence informed them by degrees, that they determined 
too haftily in favour of human nature ; they found 
that inftind and habit were not able to contend with 
avarice or malice ; that the neareft relation might be 
violated j and that power, to whomfoever intrufted, 
might be ill employed. They were therefore obliged 
to fupply and to change their inftitutions ; to deter 
the parricide by a new law, and to transfer capital 
punilhments from the parent to the magiftrate. 

There are indeed many houfes which it is impof- 
fible to enter familiarly, without difcovering that pa- 
rents are by no means exempt from the intoxications 
of dominion; and that he who is in no danger of hear- 
ing remonftrances but from his own confcience, will 
feldom be long without the art of controlling his con- 
victions, and modifying juftice by his own will. 

If in any fituation the heart were inacceffible to 
malignity, it might be fuppofed to be fufficiently fe- 
cured by parental relation. To have voluntarily 
become to any being the occafion of its exiftence, 


Ni 4 8. THE RAMBLER. 47 

produces an obligation to mak that exiftence happy. 
To fee helplefs infancy ftretching out her hands, and 
pouring out her cries in teftimony of dependence, 
without any powers to alarm jealoufy, or any guilt to 
alienate affection, muft furely awaken tendernefs in 
every human mind ; and tendernefs once excited will 
be hourly increafed by the natural contagion of fe- 
licity, by the repercufiion of communicated pleafure, 
by the confcioufnefs of the dignity of benefaction. 
I believe no generous or benevolent man can fee the 
vilefl animal courting his regard, and fhrinking at 
his anger, playing his gambols of delight before 
him, calling on him in diftrefs, and flying to him in 
danger, without more kindnefs than he can perfuade 
himfelf to feel for the wild and unfocial inhabitants 
of the air and water. We naturally endear to our- 
felves thofe to whom we impart any kind of pleafure, 
becaufe we imagine their affection and efteem fecured 
to us by the benefits which they receive. 

There is indeed another method by which the 
pride of fuperiority may be likewife gratified. He 
that has extinguifhed all the fenfations of humanity, 
and has no longer any fatisfaction in the reflection 
that he is loved as the diftributor of happinefs, may 
pleafe himfelf with exciting terror as the inflictor of 
pain : he may delight his folitude with contemplating 
the extent of his power and the force of his com- 
mands, in imagining the defires that flutter on the 
tongue which is forbidden to utter them, or the dif- 
content which preys on the heart in which fear con- 
fines it : he may amufe himfelf with new contri- 
vances of detection, multiplications of prohibition, 
and varieties of punifhment ; and fwell with exulta- 


4* THE RAMBLER. N 148. 

tion when he confiders how little of the homage that 
he receives he owes to choice. 

That princes of this character have been known, 
the hiftory of all abfolute kingdoms will inform us; 
and fince, as Ariftotle obferves, ?} wxovo/**xj povugx/eti 
the government of a family is naturally monarchical^ it 
is like other monarchies too often arbitrarily admini- 
ftered. The regal and parental tyrant differ only in 
the extent of their dominions, and the number of 
their flaves. The fame paflions caufe the fame mi- 
feries ; except that feldom any prince, however de- 
fpotick, has fo far fhaken off all awe of the publick 
eye, as to venture upon thofe freaks of injuftice, 
which are fometimes indulged under the lecrecy of a 
private dwelling. Capricious injunctions, partial 
decifions, unequal allotments, diftributions of re- 
ward not by merit but by fancy, and punifhments 
regulated not by the degree of the offence, but by 
the humour of the judge, are too frequent where no 
power is known but that of a father. 

That he delights in the mifery of others no man 
will confefs, and yet what other motive can make a 
father cruel ? The king may be inftigated by one 
man to the deftrudtion of another j he may fometimes 
think himfelf endangered by the virtues of a fubject; 
he may dread the fuccefsful general or the popular 
orator; his avarice may point out golden confifca- 
tions j and his guilt may whifper that he can only be 
fecure by cutting off all power of revenge. 

But what can a parent hope from the oppreffion of 
thofe who were born to his protection, of thofe who 
can difturb him with no competition, who can en- 
rich him with no fpoils ? Why cowards are cruel 


N 148, THE RAMBLER* 49 

may be eafily difcovered; but for what reafon, not 
more infamous than cowardice, can that man delight 
in opprefllon who has nothing to fear ? 

The unjuftifiable fe verity of a parent is loaded with 
this aggravation, that thofe whom he injures are al- 
ways in his fight. The injuftice of a prince is often 
exercifed upon thofe of whom he never had any per- 
fonal or particular knowledge ; and the fentence 
which he pronounces, whether of banifhment, im- 
prifonmenti or death, removes from his view the 
man whom he condemns^ But the domeftick op- 
prefibr dooms himfelf to gaze upon thofe faces which 
he clouds with terror and with forrow; arid beholds 
every moment the effects of his own barbarities. He 
that can bear to give continual pain to thole who fur- 
round him, and can walk with fatisfaction in the 
gloom of his own prefence j he that can fee fubmif- 
five mifery without relenting, and meet without emo- 
tion the eye that implores mercy, or demands juftice, 
will fcarcely be amended by rerhonftrance or admo- 
nition j he has found means of flopping the avenues 
of tendernefs, and arming his heart againlt the force 
of reafon. 

Even though no confideration Ihould be paid to 
the great law of focial beings, by which every indi- 
vidual is commanded to confult the happinefs of 
others, yet the harfh parent is lefs to be vindicated 
than any other Criminal, becaufe he lefs provides for 
the happinefs of himfelf. Every man, however little 
he loves others, would willingly be loved ; every 
man hopes to live long, and therefore hopes for that 
time at which he fhall fink back to imbecility, and 
muft depend for eafe and cheerfulnefs upon the ofH- 

VOL. VI. E cioufnefs 

5 o THE RAMBLER. N* 148, 

cioufnefs of Others. But how has he obviated the 
inconveniences of old age, who alienates from him 
the affiftance of his children, and whofe bed muft be 
furrounded in his laft hours, in the hours of languor 
and dejection, of impatience and of pain, by ftrangers 
to whom his life is indifferent, or by enemies to 
whom his death is defirable ? 

Piety will indeed in good minds overcome provo- 
cation, and thofe who have been harafied by brutality 
will forget the injuries which they have fufTered, fo 
far as to perform the laft duties with alacrity and zeal. 
But lurely no refentment can be equally painful with 
kindnefs thus undeferved, nor can feverer punifhment 
be imprecated upon a man not wholly loft in meannefs 
and ftupidity, than, through the tedioufnefs of de- 
crepitude, to be reproached by the kindnefs of his 
own children, to receive not the tribute but the alms 
of attendance, and to owe every relief of his miferies, 
not to gratitude but to mercy. 

N'149- THE RAMBLER. 51 

NUMB. 149* TUESDAY, Augtift 2o, 1751. 

Quod nan Jit Pylades hoc tempore, nonjit Ore/let 

Miraris ? Pylades, Marce, bibebat idem, 
ffec melior panis, turdufae dabatur Qrtfti : 

Sed par, atque eadem ccena duobus eraf. 4* 

7^ Cadmeea Tyros, me pinguis Gallia <vejiit : 

Vis te purpureum, Marce, fagatus amem ? 
Uf prteftem Py laden, aliquis mihi prtejiet Ore/fern t 

Hoc nonjit *verbis ; Marce, ut ameris, ama, 

You wonder now that no man fees 
Such friends as thofe of ancient Greece* 

Here lay the point Qreftes* meat 

Was juft the fame his friend did eat ; 

Nor can it yet be found, his wine 

Was better, Pylades, than thine. 

In home=-fpun rufiet I am drelt, 

Your cloth is always of the belt ; 

But, honeft Marcus* if you pleafe 

To chufe me fof your Pylades, 

Remember, words alone are vain ; 

Love if you wou'd be lov'd again. F. LEWIS, 


NO depravity of the mind has been more fre- 
quently or juftly cenfured than ingratitude. 
There is indeed fufficient reafon for looking on 
thofe that can return evil for good, and repay kind- 
nefs and afilftance with hatred or negleft, as corrupt- 
ed beyond the common degrees of wickednefs ; nor 
will he, who has once been clearly detected in acts 

E a of 

$2 THE RAMBLER. N 149. 

of injury to his benefactor, defer ve to be numbered 
among focial beings j he has endeavoured to deftroy 
confidence, to intercept fympathy, and to turn every 
man's attention wholly on himfelf. 

There is always danger left the honeft abhorrence 
of a crime fhould raife the paffions with too much 
violence againft the man to whom it is imputed. In 
proportion as guilt is more enormous, it ought to be 
afcertained by'ftronger evidence. The charge againft 
ingratitude is very general j almoft every man can tell 
what favours he has conferred upon infenfibility, and 
how much happinefs he has beftowed without return ; 
but perhaps, if thefe patrons and protectors were 
confronted with any whom they boaft of having be- 
friended, it would often appear that they consulted 
only their pleafure or vanity, and repaid themfelves 
their petty donatives by gratifications of infolence and 
indulgence of contempt. 

It has happened that much of my time has been 
pafi~ed in a dependent ftate, and confequently I have 
received many favours in the opinion of thofe at whofe 
expence I have been maintained; yet I do not feel in 
my heart any burning gratitude or tumultuous affec- 
tion ; and, as I would not willingly fuppofe myfelf 
lefs fufceptible of virtuous pafiions than the reft of 
mankind, I fhall lay the hiftory of my life before 
you, that you may, by your judgment of my conduct, 
either reform or confirm my prefent fentiments. 

My father was the fecond (on of a very ancient and 
wealthy family. He married a lady of equal birth, 
whofe fortune, joined to his own, might have fup- 
ported his pofterity in honour ; but being gay and 
ambitious, he prevailed on his friends to procure him 

a poft, 

N 149. THE RAMBLER. 53 

apod, which gave him an opportunity of difplaying 
his elegance and politenefs. My mother was equally 
pleafed with fplendor, and equally carelefs of ex- 
pence 5 they both juftified their profufion to them- 
ielves, by endeavouring to believe it necefTary to the 
extenfion of their acquaintance, and improvement of 
their intereft ; and whenever any place became va- 
cant, they expected to be repaid. In the midft of 
thefe hopes my father was fnatched away by an apo- 
plexy ; and my mother, who had no pleafure but in 
drefs, equipage, aflemblies, and compliments, find- 
ing that flie could live no longer in her accuftomed 
rank, funk into dejection, and in two years wore out 
her life with envy and difcontent. 

I was fent with a fitter, one year younger than my- 
&lf, to the elder brother of my father. We were not 
yet capable of obferving how much fortune influences 
affection, but flattered ourfelves on the road with the 
tendernefs and regard with which we fhould be treated 
by our uncle. Our reception was rather frigid than 
malignant j we were introduced to our young cou- 
fins, and for the firft month more frequently confoled 
than upbraided ; but in a fhort time we found our 
prattle reprefled, our drefs neglected, our endear- 
ments unregarded, and our requefts referred to the 

The forms of decency were now violated, and every 
day produced new infults. We were foon brought 
to the neceffity of receding from our imagined equa- 
lity with our coufins, to whom we funk into humble 
companions without choice or influence, expected 
only to echo their opinions, facilitate their defires, 
and accompany their rambles. It was unfortunate 

E 3 that 

54 THE RAMBLER. N 149. 

that our early introduction into polite company, and 
habitual knowledge of the arts of civility, had given 
us fuch an appearance of fuperiority to the awkward 
bafhfulnefs of our relations, as naturally drew refpect 
and preference from every ftranger; and my aunt 
was forced to aflert the dignity of her own children 
while they were fculking in corners for fear of notice, 
and hanging down their heads in filent confufion, by 
relating the indifcretion of our father, difplaying her 
own kindnefs, lamenting the mifery of birth without 
eftate, and declaring her anxiety for our future pro- 
vifion, and the expedients which fhe had formed 
to fecure us from thofe follies or crimes, to which 
the conjunction of pride and want often gives occa- 
fion. In a fhort time care was taken to prevent 
fuch vexatious miftakesj we were told, that fine 
clothes would only fill our heads with falfe expecta- 
tions, and our drefs was therefore accommodated to 
our fortune. 

Childhood is not eafily dejected or mortified. We 
felt no lading pain from infolence or neglect j but 
finding that we were favoured and commended by all 
whofe intereft did not prompt them to difcountenance 
us, preferved our vivacity and fpirit to years of greater 
fenfibility. It then became irkfome and difgufting 
to live without any principle of action but the wiU 
of another, and we often met privately in the garden 
to lament our condition, and to eafe our hearts with 
mutual narratives of caprice, peeviihnefs, ancj 

There are innumerable modes of infult and tokens 
of contempt, for which it is not eafy to find a name, 
which vanilh to nothing in an attempt to defcribc 



them, and yet may, by continual repetition, make 
day pafs after day in forrow and in terror. Phrafes 
of curfory compliment and eftablifaed falutation may, 
by a different modulation of the voice, or call of the 
countenance, convey contrary meanings, and be 
changed from indications of refpect to expreffions 
of fcorn. The dependant who cultivates delicacy in 
himfelf very littl.* confults his own tranquillity. My 
unhappy vigilance is every moment difcovering fome 
petulance of accent, or arrogance of mien, fome ve- 
hemence of interrogation, orquicknefs of reply, that 
recalls my poverty to my mind, and which J feel 
more acutely as I know not how to refent it. 

You are not, however, to imagine, that I think my- 
felf difcharged from the duties of gratitude, only be- 
caufe my relations do not adjuft their looks, or tune 
their voices to my expectation. The infolence of 
benefaction terminates not in negative rudenefs qr 
obliquities of infult. I am pften told in exprefs terms 
of the miferies from which charity has fnatched me, 
while multitudes are fuffered by relations equally near 
to devolve upon the parifh j and have more than once 
heard it numbered among other favours, that I arri 
admitted to the fame table with my coufms. 

That I fit at the firft table I muft acknowledge, 
but I fit them only that I may feel the (lings of in- 
feriority. My enquiries are neglected, my opinion 
is overborn, my affertions are controverted, and as 
infolence always propagates itfelf, the fervants over- 
look me, in imitation of their matter $ if I call mo- 
deftly, I am not heartj > if loudly, my usurpation of 
authority is checked by a general frown. I am often, 
obliged to look uninvited upon delicacies, and fome- 
times defired tQ rife upon very flight pretences. 

S* 4 The 

56 THE RAMBLER. N 149. 

The incivilities to which I am expofed would give 
me lefs pain, were they not aggravated by the tears 
of my fitter, whom the young ladies are hourly tor- 
menting with every art of feminine perfecution. As 
it is faid of the fupreme magiftrate of Venice., that he 
is a prince in one place and a (lave in another, my 
fitter is a fervant to her coufins in their apartments, 
and a companion only at the talne. Her wit and 
beauty draw fo much regard away from them, that 
they never fuffer her to appear with them in any place 
where they folicit notice, or expect admiration j an4 
when they are vifited by neighbouring ladies, and 
pafs their hours in domeftick amufements, Ihe is 
Ibmetimes called to fill a vacancy, infulted with 
contemptuous freedoms, and difmifled to her needle 
when her place is fupplied* The heir has of late, 
by the inftigation of his fitters, begun to harafs her 
with clowniih jocularity ; he feems inclined to make 
his firft rude efTays of waggery upon her ; and by 
the connivance, if not encouragement of his father, 
treats her with fuch licentious brutality, as I cannot 
bear, though I cannot punifh it. 

I beg to be informed, Mr. RAMBLER, how much 
we can be fuppofed to owe to beneficence, exerted on 
terms like thefe ? to beneficence which pollutes its 
gifts with contumely, and may be truly faid to pander 
to pride ? I would willingly be told, whether info- 
lence does not reward its own liberalities, and whe- 
ther he that exacts fervility can with juftice at the; 
fame time expect affection ? 

I am, SIR, &c. 



NUMB. 150. SATURDAY, Augujl 24, 1751. 

O munera nondum 
Intellect a Deum ! LUCAN. 

Thou chiefeft good ! 
Beftow'd by Heav'n, butfeldom underftood. Rows. 

AS daily experience makes it evident that misfor- 
tunes are unavoidably incident to human life, 
that calamity will neither be repelled by fortitude, 
nor efcaped by flight; neither awed by greatnefs, 
nor eluded by obfcurity ; philofophers have endea- 
voured to reconcile us to that condition which they 
cannot teach us to mend, by perfuading us that moft 
of our evils are made afflictive only by ignorance or 
perverfenefs, and that nature has annexed to every 
viciffitude of external circumftances, fome advantage 
fufficient to overbalance all its inconveniences. 

This attempt may perhaps be juftly fufpected of 
refemblance to the practice of phyficians, who, when 
they cannot mitigate pain, deftroy fenfibility, and 
endeavour to conceal by opiates the inefficacy of their 
other medicines. The panegyrifts of calamity have 
more frequently gained applaufe to their wit, than 
acquiefcence to their arguments ; nor has it appeared 
that the moft mufical oratory or fubtle ratiocination 
has been able long to overpower the anguifh of op- 
preflion, the tedioufnefs of languor, or the longings 
of want. 


58 THE RAMBLER, N* ia. 

Yet it may be generally remarked, that where 
much has been attempted, fomething has been per- 
formed j though the difcoveries or acquisitions of 
man are not always adequate to the expectations of 
his pride, they are at lead fufficient to animate his 
induftry. The antidotes with which philofophy 
has medicated the cup of life, though they can- 
not give it falubrity and fweetnefs, have at lead 
allayed its bitternefs, and contempered its maligni- 
ty; the balm which fhe drops upon the wounds of 
the mind abates their pain, though it cannot heal 

By fuffering willingly what we cannot avoid, we 
fecure ourfclves from vain and immoderate difquiet; 
we prefer ve for better purpofes that ftrength which 
\vould be unprofitably wafted in wild efforts of de- 
fperation, and maintain that circumfpection which 
may enable us to feize every fupport, and improve 
every alleviation. This calmnefs will be more eafily 
obtained, as the attention is more powerfully with, 
drawn from the contemplation of unmingled un- 
abated evil, and diverted to thofe accidental benefits 
which prudence may confer on every (late. 

Seneca has attempted not only to pacify us in mif-. 
fortune, but almoft to allure us to it, by reprefenting 
it as neceffary to the pleafures of the mind. He that 
never was acquainted with adverfity, fays he, hasjeen 
the world but on one fide, and is ignorant of half the 
Jcenes of nature.. He invites his pupil to calamity, 
as the Syrens allured the pafTcnger to their coafts, 
by promifing that he fhall return irtiwu Vwf, with 
increafe of knowledge, with enlarged views, and 
multiplied ideas-. 



Curiofity is, in great and generous minds, the firft 
paflion and the laftj and perhaps always predomi- 
nates in proportion to the ftrength of the contempla- 
tive faculties. He who eafily comprehends all that 
is before him, and foon exhaufts any fmgle iubject, 
is always eager for new enquiries; and in proportion 
as the intellectual eye takes in a wider profpefl, it 
muft be gratified with variety by more rapid flights, 
and bolder excurfionsj nor perhaps can there be 
propofed to thofe who have been accuftomed to the 
pleafures of thought, a more powerful incitement to 
any undertaking, than the hope of filling their fanty 
with new images, of clearing their doubts, and en- 
lightening their reafon. 

When Jafon, in Valerius Flaccus, would incline 
the young prince Acaftus to accompany him in the 
frrft eflay of navigation, he difperfes his apprehen- 
fions of danger by reprefentations of the new tracls 
of earth and heaven which the expedition would 
fpread before their eyesj and tells him with what 
grief he will hear, at their return, of the countries 
which they fhall have feen, and the toils which they 
have furmounted. 

O quantum terra;, quantum cognofcere cceli, 
PermiJJum ejt ! pelagus quanta; aperimus in ufus / 
Nuncforfan graije reris opus : fed lata recurrct 
Cum rat is, & car am cum jam mibi reddet lolcon f 
Quis pudor hen nojlroi tibi tune audire labores ! 
Quam refer am ijifas tua per jufpiria gentes ! 

Led by our ftars, what tradls immenfe we trace ! 

From Teas remote, what funds of fcience raile ! 

A pain to thought ! but when th* heroick band 

Returns applauded to their native land, 

A life domeftick you will then deplore, 

And figh while J dcfcrlbe the various (hore. EDW. CAX'E. 


60 THE RAMBLER. N 150; 

Acaftus was foon prevailed upon by his curiofity 
to fet rocks and hardfhips at defiance, and commit 
his life to the winds j and the fame motives have in 
all ages had the fame effect upon thofe whom the 
defire of fame or wifdom has diftinguifhed from the 
lower orders of mankind. 

If therefore it can be proved that diftrefs is necef- 
fary to the attainment of knowledge, and that a 
happy fituation hides from us fo large a part of the 
field of meditation, the envy of many who repine at 
the light of affluence and fplendor will be much di- 
minifhed ; for fuch is the delight of mental fupe- 
riority, that none on whom nature or ftudy have 
conferred it, would purchafe the gifts of fortune by 
its lofs. 

It is certain, that however the rhetorick of Seneca 
may have drefled adverfity with extrinfick ornaments, 
he has juftly reprefented it as affording fome oppor- 
tunities of obfervation, which cannot be found in 
continual fuccefsj he has truly aflerted, that to 
cfcape misfortune is to want inftruction, and that to 
live at eafe is to live in ignorance. 

As no man can enjoy happinefs without thinking 
that he enjoys it, the experience of calamity is ne- 
cefiary to a juft fenie of better fortune j for the 
good of our prefent ftate is merely comparative, and 
the evil which every man feels will be fufficient 
to difturb and harafs him, if he does not know 
how much he efcapes. The, luftre of diamonds is 
invigorated by the interpofition of darker bodies j 
the lights of a pidure are created by the fhades. 
The higheft pleafure which nature has indulged 
to fenfitive perception, is that of reft after fatigue j 


N 150. THE RAMBLER. 61 

yet that ftate which labour heightens into delight, 
is of itfelf only eafe, and is incapable of fatisfying 
the mind without the fuperaddition of diverfified 

Profperity, as is truly afierted by Seneca, very 
much obftructs the knowledge of ourfelves. No 
man can form a juft eftimate of his own powers by 
unactive fpeculation. That fortitude which has 
encountered no dangers, that prudence which has 
furmounted no difficulties, that integrity which has 
been attacked by no temptations, can at belt be 
confidered but as gold not yet brought to the teft, 
of which therefore the true value cannot be affigned. 
He that traverfes the lifts without an adverfary, may 
receive, lays the philofopher, the reward of vittory, 
but he has no pretenfions to the honour. If it be the 
highefl happinefs of man to contemplate himfelf with 
fatisfaction, and to receive the gratulations of his 
own confcience, he whofe courage has made way 
amidft the turbulence of oppofition, and whofe vigour 
has broken through the fnares of diftrefs, has many 
advantages over thofe that have flept in the fhades of 
indolence, and whofe retrofpect of time can entertain 
them with nothing but day rifing upon day, and year 
gliding after year. 

Equally necefTary is fome variety of fortune to a 
nearer infpection of the manners, principles, and 
affections of mankind. Princes, when they would 
know the opinions or grievances of their fubjefls, 
find it neceflary to (leal away from guards and at- 
tendants, and mingle on equal terms among the 
people. To him who is known to have the power 


6l THE RAMBLER. N* 150, 

of doing good or harm, nothing is fhown in its 
natural form. The behaviour of all that approach 
him is regulated by his humour, their narratives 
are adapted to his inclination, and their reafoninga 
determined by his opinions; whatever can alarm 
fufpicion, or excite refentment, is carefully fup- 
preflfed, and nothing appears but uniformity of 
fentiments and ardour of affection. It may be ob- 
ferved that the unvaried complaifance which ladies 
have the right of exacting, keeps them generally 
unfkilled in human nature ; profperity will always 
enjoy the female prerogatives, and therefore muft be 
always in danger of female ignorance. Truth is 
fcarcely to be heard, but by thofe from whom it can 
lerve no intereft to conceal it. 


NUMB. 151. TUESDAY, Augufl 27, 1751 

T > 

But wrapt in ejrbr is the human Riind, 

And human blifs is ever infecure : 
Know we what fortune yet remains behind ? 

Know we how long the prefent (hall endure ? WEST* 

TH E writers of medicine and phyfiology have 
traced, with great appearance of accuracy, the 
effects of time upon the human body, by marking 
the various periods of the conftitution, and the 
feveral ftages by which animal life makes its pro- 
grefs from infancy to decrepitude. Though their 
obfervations have not enabled them to difcover how 
manhood may be accelerated, or old age retarded, 
yet furely, if they be confidered only as the amufe- 
ments of curiofity, they are of equal importance 
with conjectures on things more remote, with cata- 
logues of the fixed ftars, and calculations of the 
bulk of planets. 

It had been a tafk worthy of the moral philofo- 
phers to have confidered with equal care the cli- 
mactericks of the mind j to have pointed out the time 
at which every paflion begins and ceafes to pre- 
dominate, and noted the regular variations of delire, 
and the fucceffion of one appetite to another. 

3 The 

64 THE RAMBLER. N 151* 

The periods of mental change are not to be ftated 
\vith equal certainty : our bodies grow up under the 
care of nature, and depend fo little on our own ma- 
nagement, that fomething more than negligence is ne- 
cefiary to difcompofe their ftructure, or impede their 
vigour. But our minds are committed in a great 
meafure firft to the direction of others, and after- 
wards of ourfelves. It would be difficult to protract 
the weaknefs of infancy beyond the ufual time, but 
the mind may be very eafily hindered from its fhare 
of improvement, and the bulk and flrength of man- 
hood muft, without the afliftance of education and 
inftrudtion, be informed only with the underftand- 
ing of a child. 

Yet amidft all the diforder and inequality which 
variety of difcipline, example, converfation, and 
employment produce in the intellectual advances of 
different men, there is dill difcovered by a vigilant 
fpectator, fuch a general and remote -fimilitude, as 
may be expected in the fame common nature af- 
fected by external circumftances indefinitely varied. 
We all enter the world in equal ignorance, gaze 
round about us on the fame objects, and have our 
firft pains and pleafures, our firft hopes and fears, our 
firft averfions and defires, from the fame caufes ; and 
though, as we proceed farther, life opens wider 
profpedts to our view, and accidental impulfes de- 
termine us to different paths, yet as every mind, 
however vigorous or abftracted, is necefiitated, in its 
prefent ftate of union, to receive its informations, 
and execute its purpofes, by the intervention of the 
body, the uniformity of our corporeal nature com- 
municates itfelf to our intellectual operations ; and 


N 151. THE RAMBLER. 65 

thofe whofe abilities or knowledge incline them 
moft to deviate from the general round of life, are 
recalled from excentricity by the laws of their exift- 

If we confider the exercifes of the mind, it will 
be found that in each part of life fome particula r 
faculty is more eminently employed. When the 
treafures of knowledge are firft opened before us, 
while novelty blooms alike on either hand, and every 
thing equally unknown and unexamined feems of 
equal value, the power of the foul is principally ex- 
erted in a vivacious and defultory curiofity. She 
applies by turns to every object, enjoys it for a fhort 
time, and flies with equal ardour to another* She 
delights to catch up loofe and unconnected ideas, 
but ftarts away from fyftems and complications 
which would obftruct the rapidity of her tranfitiorts, 
and detain her long in the fame purfuit. 

When a number of diftinct images are collected 
by thefe erratick and hafty furveys, the fancy is bu- 
fied in arranging them ; and combines them into 
pleafing pictures with more refemblance to the reali- 
ties of life as experience advances, and new obfer- 
vations rectify the former. While the judgment is 
yet uninformed and unable to compare the draughts 
of fiction with their originals, we are delighted with 
improbable adventures, impracticable virtues, and 
inimitable characters : But in proportion as we have 
more opportunities of acquainting ourfelves with 
living nature, we are fooner difgufted with copies 
in which there appears no refemblance. We firft 
difcard abfurdity and impofllbility, then exact greater 
and greater degrees of probability, but at laft become 

VOL. VI. F cold 

66 THE RAMBLER. N 151. 

cold and infenfible to the charms of falfehood, how- 
ever fpecious, and from the imitations of truth, which 
are never perfect, transfer our affection to truth it- 

Now commences the reign of judgment or reafon ; 
we begin to find little pleafure but in comparing argu- 
ments, dating proportions, difentangling perplexi- 
ties, clearing ambiguities, and deducing confe- 
quences. The painted vales of imagination are de- 
ferted, and our intellectual activity is exercifed in 
winding through the labyrinths of fallacy, and toiling 
with firm and cautious fteps up the narrow tracks of 
demonftration. Whatever may lull vigilance, or 
miflead attention, is contemptuoufly rejected, and 
every difguife in which error may be concealed, is 
carefully obferved, till by degrees a certain number 
of inconteftable or unfufpected propofitions are efta- 
bliflied, and at laft concatenated into arguments, or 
compacted into fyflems. 

At length wearinefs fucceecfo to labour, and the 
mind lies at eafe in the contemplation of her own 
attainments, without any defire of new conquefts or 
excurfions. This is the age of recollection and nar- 
rative; the opinions are fettled, and the avenues of 
apprehenfion fhut againft any new intelligence ; the 
days that are to follow muft pafs in the inculcation 
of precepts already collected, and aflertion of tenets 
already received; nothing is henceforward fo odious 
as oppofitiorii fo infolent as doubt, or fo dangerous 
as novelty. 

In like manner the paflions ufurp the feparate 
command of the fucceffive periods of life; To the 
happinefs of our firfr. years nothing more feems ne- 


N 151. THE RAMBLER. 67 

ceflary than freedom from reftraint : Every man may 
remember that if he was left to himfelf, and indulged 
in the difpofal of his own time, he was once content 
without the fuperaddition of any actual pleafure. The 
new world is itfelf a banquet; and till we have ex- 
haufted the frefhnefs of life, we have always about us 
fufficient gratifications : the funfhine quickens us to 
play, and the (hade invites us to deep. 

But we foon become unfatisfied with negative fe- 
licity, and are folicited by our fenfes and appetites 
to more powerful delights, as the tafte of him who 
has fatisfied his hunger muft be excited by artificial 
ftimulations. The fimplicity of natural amuiement 
is now paft, and art and contrivance muft improve 
our pleafures ; but in time, arr, like nature, is ex- 
haufted, and the fenfes can no longer fupply the 
cravings of the intellect. 

The attention is then transferred from pleafure to 
intereft, in which pleafure is perhaps included, 
though diffufed to a wider extent, and protracted 
through new gradations. Nothing now dances be- 
fore the eyes but wealth and power, nor rings in the 
ear but the voice of fame j wealth, to which, how- 
ever varioufly denominated, every man at fome time 
or other afpiresj power, which all wifh to obtain 
within their circle of action; and fame, which no 
man, however high or mean, however wife or igno- 
rant, was yet able to defpife. Now prudence and 
forefight exert their influence : No hour is devoted 
wholly to any prefent enjoyment, no act or purpofe 
terminates in itfelf, but every motion is referred to 
fome diftant end; the accomplishment of one de- 

F 2 fign 


fign begins another, and the ultimate wifh is always 
pufhed off to its former diftance. 

At length fame is obferved to be uncertain, and 
power to be dangerous ; the man whofe vigour and 
alacrity begin to forfake him, by degrees contracts 
his defigns, remits his former multiplicity of pur- 
fuits, and extends no longer his regard to any other 
honour than the reputation of wealth, or any other 
influence than his power. Avarice is generally the 
}aft paffion of thofe lives of which the firft part has 
been fquandered in pleafure, and the fecond devoted 
to ambition, He that finks under the fatigue of 
getting wealth, lulls his age with the milder bufmefs 
of faving it. 

I have in this view of life confidered men as actu- 
ated only by natural defires, and yielding to their 
own inclinations, without regard to fuperior princi- 
ples by which the force of external agents may be 
counteracted, and the temporary prevalence of paf- 
lions reftrained. Nature will indeed always operate, 
human defires will be always ranging ; but thefe mo- 
tions, though very powerful, are not refiftlefs j na- 
ture may be regulated, and defires governed ; and to 
contend with the predominance of fuccefllve paffionSj 
to be endangered firft by one affection, and then by 
another, is the condition upon which we are to pafs 
our time, the time of our preparation for that ftatc 
which (hall put an end to experiment, to difappoint- 
ment, and to change. 


NUMB. 152. SATURDAY, Augnjl 31, 1751. 

Vultum <verla decent, iratum plena minarum. Ho R. . 

Difaftrous words can beft difafter fliow; 

In angry phrafe the angry paflions, glo\y. ELPHINSTON. 

" TT was the wifdom," fays Seneca, " of ancient 
<e A times, to confider what is moft ufcful ns moft 
<{ illuftrious." If this rule be applied to works of 
genius, fcarcely any fpecies of compofition deferves 
more to be cultivated than the epiftolary ftyle, fmce 
none is of more various or frequent ufe, through the 
whole fubordination of human life. 

It has yet happened that among the numerous 
writers which our nation has produced, equal per- 
haps always in force and genius, and of late in ekr- 
gance and accuracy, to thofe of any other country, 
very few have endeavoured to diftinguifh themfelves 
by the publication of letters, except fuch as were 
written in the difcharge of publick trufts, and during 
the tranfaclion of great affairs ; which, though they 
afford precedents to the minifter, and memorials to 
the hiftorian, are of no ufe as examples of the familiar 
ftyle or models of private correfpondence. 

If it be enquired by foreigners, how this defici- 
ency has happened in the literature of a country, 
where all indulge themfelves with fo little danger in 
fpeaking and writing, may we not without either 
bigotry or arrogance inform them, that it muft be 

F 3 imputed 

70 THE RAMBLER. N 152. 

imputed to our contempt of trifles, and our due 
fenfe of the dignity of the publick ? We do not think 
it reafonable to fill the world with volumes from 
which nothing can be learned, nor expect that the 
employments of the bufy, or the amufements of the 
gay, fhould give way to narratives of our private 
affairs, complaints of abfence, expreffions of fond- 
nefs, or declarations of fidelity. 

A flight perufal of the innumerable letters by 
which the wits of France have fignalized their names, 
will prove that other nations need not be difcouraged 
from the like attempts by the confcioufnefs of inabi- 
lity ; for furely it is not very difficult to aggravate 
trifling misfortunes, to magnify familiar incidents, 
repeat adulatory profeffions, accumulate fervile hy- 
perboles, and produce all that can be found in the 
defpicable remains of Voiture and Scarron. 

Yet as much of life muft be pafled in affairs con- 
fiderable only by their frequent occurrence, and 
much of the pleafure which our condition allows, 
muft be produced by giving elegance to trifles, 
it is necefTary to learn how to become little without 
becoming mean, to maintain the necefiary inter- 
courfe of civility, and fill up the vacuities of actions 
by agreeable appearances. It had therefore been of 
advantage,- if fuch of our writers as have excelled in 
the art of decorating infignificance, had fupplied us 
with a few fallies of innocent gaiety, effufions of ho- 
neft tendernefs, or exclamations of unimportant 

Precept has generally been poflerior to perform- 
ance. The art of compofing works of genius has 
never been taught but by the example of thofe who 
3 performed 


performed it by natural vigour of imagination, and 
rectitude of judgment. As we have few letters, we 
have likewife few criticifms upon the epiftolary ftyle. 
The obfervation with which Waljh has introduced 
his pages of inanity, are fuch as give him little claim 
to the rank afligned him by Dryden among the cri- 
ticks. Letters, fays he, are intended as refemblances 
of converfation, and the chief excellencies of converfa- 
tion are good-humour and good-breeding. This re- 
mark, equally valuable for its novelty and propriety, 
he dilates and enforces with an appearance of com- 
plete acquiefcence in his own difcovery. 

No man was ever in doubt about the moral quali- 
ties of a letter. It has been always known that he 
who endeavours to pleafe muft appear pleafed, and 
he who would not provoke rudenefs muft not practife 
it. But the queftion among thofe who eftablifh 
rules for an epiftolary performance is how gaiety or 
civility may be properly exprefled ; as among the 
criticks in hiftory it is not contefted whether truth 
ought to be preferved, but by what mode of diction 
it is beft adorned. 

As letters are written on all fubjects, in all ftates 
of mind, they cannot be properly reduced to fettled 
rules, or defcribed by any fingle characteriftick ; 
and we may fafely difentangle our minds from 
critical embarraflrnents, by determining that a let- 
ter has no peculiarity but its form, and that no- 
thing is to be refufed admiffion, which would be 
proper in any other method of treating the fame 
fubject. The qualities of the epiftolary ftyle molt 
frequently required are eafe and fimplicity, an even 
flow of unlaboured diction, and an artlefs arrange- 

F 4 ment 

72 THE RAMBLER. N 152. 

ment of obvious fentiments. But thefc directions are 
no fooner applied to ufe, than their fcantinefs and 
imperfection become evident. Letters are written 
to the great and to the mean, to the learned and the 
ignorant, at reft and in diftrefs, in fport and in paf- 
fion. Nothing can be more improper than eafe and 
laxity of expreffion, when the importance of the fub- 
je<5l imprefies folicitude, or the dignity of the perfon 
exacts reverence. 

That letters fhould be written with ftri<5t con- 
formity to nature is true, becaufe nothing but con- 
formity to nature can make any compofition beauti- 
ful or juft. But it is natural to depart from famili- 
arity of language upon occafions not familiar. 
Whatever elevates the fentiments will confequently 
raife the expreffion ; whatever fills us with hope or 
terror, will produce fome perturbation of images 
and fome figurative diftortions of phrafe. Wherever 
we are ftudious to pleafe, we are afraid of trufting 
our firft thoughts, and endeavour to recommend our 
opinion by ftudied ornaments, accuracy of method, 
and elegance of ftyle. 

If the perfonages of the comick fcene be allowed 
by Horace to raife their language in the tranfports of 
anger to the turgid vehemence of tragedy, the epifto- 
lary writer may likewife without cenfure comply 
with the varieties of his matter. If great events arc 
to be related, he may with all the folemnity of an 
hiftorian deduce them from their caufes, connect 
them with their concomitants, and trace them to 
their confequences. If a difputed pofition is to be 
eftablifhed, or a remote principle to be inveftigated, 
he may detail his reafonings with all the nicety of 



fyllogiftick method. If a menace is to be averted, 
or a benefit implored, he may, without any violation 
of the edicts of criticifm, call every power of rheto- 
rick to his affiftance, and try every inlet at which 
love or pity enters the heart. 

Letters that have no other end than the entertain- 
ment of the correfpondents are more properly regu- 
lated by critical precepts, becaufe the matter and ftyle 
are equally arbitrary, and rules are more necefiary, as 
there is a larger power of choice. In letters of 
this kind, fome conceive art graceful, and others 
think negligence amiable ; fome model them by the 
fonnet, and will allow them no means of delighting 

O O 

but the foft lapfe of calm mellifluence ; others adjuft 
them by the epigram, and expect pointed fentences 
and forcible periods. The one party confiders ex- 
emption from faults as the height of excellence, the 
other looks upon neglect of excellence as the moft 
difgufting fault; one avoids cenfure, the other afpires 
to praife ; one is always in danger of infipidity, the 
other continually on the brink of affectation. 

When the fubject has no intrinfick dignity, it muft 
neceflarily owe its attractions to artificial embellifli- 
ments, and may catch at all advantages which the 
art of writing can fupply. He that, like Pliny, 
fends his friend a portion for his daughter, will, with- 
out Pliny's eloquence or addrefs, find means of ex- 
citing gratitude, and fecuring acceptance j but he 
that has no prefent to make but a garland, a ribbon, 
or fome petty curiofity, muft endeavour to recom- 
mend it by his manner of giving it. 


74 THE RAMBLER. N' 152. 

The purpofe for which letters are written when no 
intelligence is communicated, or bufinefs traniacted, 
is to preferve in the minds of the abfent either love 
or efteem ; to excite love we muft impart pleafure, 
and to raife efteem we muft difcover abilities. Plea- 
fure will generally be given, as abilities are difplayed 
by fcenes of imagery, points of conceit, unexpected 
fallies, and artful compliments. Trifles always re- 
quire exuberance of ornament ; the building which 
has no ftrength can be valued only for the grace of its 
decorations. The pebble muft be polifhed with care, 
which hopes to be valued as a diamond ; and words 
ought furely to be laboured, when they are intended 
to ftand for things. 

Ni53- THE RAMBLER. 75 

NUMB. 153. TUESDAY, September 3, 1751. 

^Turla. Remi fequitur fortunam, ut femper, et odlt 

Damnatos. Juv. 

The fickle crowd with fortune comes and goes ; 
Wealth ftill finds followers, and misfortune foes. 

?o the RAMBLER. 


S I R, 

THERE are occafions on which all apology 
is rudenefs. He that has an unwelcome mef- 
fage to deliver, may give fome proof of tendernels 
and delicacy, by a ceremonial introduction and gra- 
dual difcovery, becaufe the mind, upon which the 
weight of forrow is to fall, gains time for the collec^ 
tion of its powers j but nothing is more abfurd than 
to delay the communication of pleafure, to torment 
curiofity by impatience, and to delude hope by an- 

1 fhall therefore forbear the arts by which corre- 
fpondents generally fecure admiffion, for I have too 
long remarked the power of vanity, to doubt that I 
fliall be read by you with a difpofition to approve, 
when I declare that my narrative has no other ten- 
dency than to illuftrate and corroborate your own ob- 

I was the fecond fon of a gentleman, whofe patri- 
mony had been wafted by a long fucceflion of fquan- 


7$ THE RAMBLER. N i 5J . 

derers, till he was unable to fupport any of his child- 
ren, except his heir, in the hereditary dignity of idle- 
nefs. Being therefore obliged to employ that part 
of life in ftudy which my progenitors had devoted to 
the hawk and hound, I was in my eighteenth year 
difpatched to the univerfity, without any rural ho- 
nours. I had never killed a fingle woodcock, nor 
partaken one triumph over a conquered fox. 

At the univerfity I continued to enlarge my ac- 
quifitions with little envy of the noify happinefs 
which my elder brother had the fortune to enjoy, 
and having obtained my degree, retired to confider 
at leifure to what profeflion I fhould confine that ap- 
plication which had hitherto been diffipated in gene- 
ral knowledge. To deliberate upon a choice which 
cuftom and honour forbid to be retracted, is certainly 
reafonable, yet to let loofe the attention equally to 
the advantages and inconveniencies of every employ- 
ment is not without danger ; new motives are every 
moment operating on every fidej and mechanicks 
have long ago difcovered, that contrariety of equal 
attractions is equivalent to reft. 

While I was thus trifling in uncertainty, an old 
adventurer, who had been once the intimate friend of 
my father, arrived from the Indies with a large fortune; 
which he had fo much harrafled himfelf in obtain- 
ing, that ficknefs and infirmity left him no other 
defire than to die in his native country. His wealth 
cafily procured him an invitation to pafs his life with 
us, and being incapable of any amufement but con- 
verlation, he neceflfarily became familiarifed to me, 
whom he found fludious and domeftick. Pleafed 



with an opportunity of imparting my knowledge, 
and eager of any intelligence that might increafe it, 
I delighted his curiofity with hiftorical narratives 
and explications of nature, and gratified his vanity 
by enquiries after the products of diflant countries, 
and the cuftoms of their inhabitants. 

My brother faw how much I advanced in the fa- 
vour of our gueft, who being without heirs, was na- 
turally expected to enrich the family of his friend, 
but neither attempted to alienate me, nor to ingra- 
tiate himfelf. He was indeed little qualified to fo- 
licit the affection of a traveller, for the remiffnefs of 
his education had left him without any rule of action 
but his prefent humour. He often forfook the old 
gentleman in the midft of an adventure, becaufe the 
horn founded in the court-yard, and would have loft 
an opportunity, not only of knowing the hiflory, but 
lharing the wealth of the mogul, for the trial of a 
new pointer, or the fight of a horfe-race. 

It was therefore not long before our new friend 
declared his intention of bequeathing to me the pro- 
fits of his commerce, as the only man in the family 
by whom he could expect them to be rationally en- 
joyed. This diftinction drew upon me the envy not 
only of my brother but my father. 

As no man is willing to believe that he fufFers by 
his own fault, they imputed the preference which I 
had obtained to adulatory compliances, or malignant 
calumnies. To no purpole did I call upon my pa 
tron to atteft my innocence, for who will believe 
what he wifhes to be falfe ? In the heat of difappoint- 
ment they forced their inmate by repeated infults to 


7& THE RAMBLER. N 153. 

depart from the houfe, and I was foon, by the fame 
treatment, obliged to follow him. 

He chofe his refidence in the confines of London^ 
where reft, tranquillity, and medicine, reftored him 
to part of the health which he had loft. I pleafed 
myfelf with perceiving that I was not likely to ob- 
tain the immediate poflefTion of wealth which no la- 
bour of mine had contributed to acquire j and that 
he, who had thus diftinguifhed me, might hope to 
end his life without a total fruftration of thofe blef- 
fings, which, whatever be their real value, he had 
fought with fo much diligence, and purchafed with 
fo many viciffitudes of danger and fatigue. 

He indeed left me no reafon to repine at his reco- 
very, for he was willing to accuftom me early to the 
ufe of money, and fet apart for my expences fuch a 
revenue as I had fcarcely dared to image. I can yet 
congratulate myfelf that fortune has feen her golden 
cup once tailed without inebriation. Neither my 
modefty nor prudence were overwhelmed by afflu- 
ence; my elevation was without infolence, and my 
expence without profufion. Employing the influ- 
ence which money always confers to the improve- 
ment of my underftanding, I mingled in parties of 
gaiety, and in conferences of learning, appeared in 
every place where inftruclion was to be found, and 
imagined that by ranging through all the diverfities 
of life, I had acquainted myfelf fully with human 
nature, and learned all that was to be known of the 
\vays of men. 

It happened, however, that I foon difcovered how 
much was wanted to the completion of my know- 

N'i53- THE RAMBLER. 79 

ledge, and found that, according to Seneca's remark, 
I had hitherto feen the world but on one fide. My 
patron's confidence in his increafe of ftrength tempt- 
ed him to carelefihefs and irregularity; he caught 
a fever by riding in the rain, of which he died de- 
lirious on the third day. I buried him without any 
of the heir's affected grief or fecret exultation ; then 
preparing to take a legal pofiefiion of his fortune, 
1 opened his clofet, where I found a will, made at his 
firft arrival, by which my father was appointed the 
chief inheritor, and nothing was left me but a le- 
gacy fufficient to fupport me in the profecution of 
my fludies. 

I had not yet found fuch charms in profperity as 
to continue it by any ads of forgery or injuftice, and 
made hafte to inform my father of the riches which 
had been given him, not by the preference of kind- 
nefs, but by the delays of indolence,, and cowardice 
of age. The hungry family flew like vultures on 
their prey, and foon made my difappointment publick 
by the tumult of their claims, and the fplendor of 
their forrow. 

It was now my part to confider how I fhould re- 
pair the difappointment. I could not but triumph 
in my long lift of friends, which comprifed almoft 
every name that power or knowledge intitled to 
eminence, and in the profpect of the innumerable 
roads to honour and preferment, which I had laid 
open to myfelf by the wife ufe of temporary riches. 
1 believed nothing neceflary but that I fhould con- 
tinue that acquaintance to which I had been fo rea- 
dily admitted, and which had hitherto been culti- 
vated on both fides with equal ardour. 



Full of thefe expectations, I one morning ordered 
a chair, with an intention to make my ufual circle 
of morning vifits. Where I firft flopped I faw two 
footmen lolling at the door, who told me, without 
any change of pofture, or collection of countenance, 
that their matter was at home, and fuffered me to 
open the inner door without affiftance. I found my 
friend (landing, and as I was tattling with my former 
freedom, was formally intreated to fit down ; but 
did not flay to be favoured with any further conde- 

My next experiment was made at the levee of a 
flatefman, who received me with an embrace of ten- 
dernefs, that he might with more decency publifh 
my change of fortune to the fycophants about him. 
After he had enjoyed the triumph of condolence, he 
turned to a wealthy flock-jobber, and left me expofed 
to the fcorn of thofe who had lately courted my no- 
tice, and folicited my interefl. 

I was then fet down at the door of another, who 
upon my entrance advifed me with great folemnity 
to think of fome fettled provifion for life. I left 
him and hurried away to an old friend, who pro- 
feffed himfelf unfufceptible of any imprefiions from 
profperity or misfortune, and begged that he might 
fee me when he was more at leifure* 

At fixty-feven doors at which I knocked in the 
firft week after my appearance in a mourning drefs, 
I was denied admiffion at forty-fix j was fuffered at 
fourteen to wait in the outer-room till bufinefs was 
difpatched ; at four was entertained with a few quef" 
tions about the weather j at one heard the footman 
rated for bringing my namej and at two was in- 

N 153- THE RAMBLER. 8x 

formed, in the flow of cafual converfation, how much 
a man of rank degrades himfelf by mean company. 

My curiofity now led me to try what reception I 
fhould find among the ladies ; but I found that my 
patron had carried all my powers of pleafing to the 
grave. I had formerly been celebrated as a wit, and 
not perceiving any languor in my imagination, I ef- 
fayed to revive that gaiety which had hitherto broken 
out involuntarily before my fentences were finifhed. 
My remarks were how heard with a fteady counte- 
nance, and if a girl happened to give way to habi- 
tual merriment, her forwardnefs was reprefled with 
a frown by her mother or her aunt. 

Wherever I come I fcatter infirmity and difeafe j 
every lady whom I meet in the Mall is too weary 
to walk ; all whom I intreat to fing are troubled with 
colds : if I propofe cards, they are afflicted with the 
head-ach j if I invite them to the gardens, they can- 
not bear a crowd. 

All this might be endured j but there is a clafs of 
mortals who think my underftanding impaired with 
my fortune^ exalt themfelves to the dignity of advice, 
and whenever we happen to meet, prefurne to pre- 
fcribe my conduct, regulate my ceconomy, and di- 
rect my purfuits. Another race, equally imperti- 
nent and equally defpicable, are every moment re- 
commending to me an attention to my intereft, and 
think themfelves entitled, by their fuperior pru- 
dence, to reproach me if I fpeak or move without 
regard to profit. 

Such, Mr. Rambler, is the power of wealth, that 
it commands the ear of greatnefs and the eye of 
beauty, gives fpirit to the dull, and authority to the 

VOL. VI. G timorous, 

82 THE RAMBLER. N<> 154. 

timorous, and leaves him from whom it departs, 
without virtue and without underfbanding, the fport 
of caprice, the fcofF of infolence, the flave of mean- 
nefs, and the pupil of ignorance. 

I am, &c. 

NUMB. 154. SATURDAY, September 7, 1751. 

Wili res antlqiifS laudis et artis 

dggredior, fanttos aufus reduderefontes. Vi R c # 

For thee my tuneful accents will I raife* 

And treat of arts difcbs'd in ancient days j 

Once more unlock for thee the facred fpring. D R Y D E N. 

TH E direction of Ariftotle to thofe that ftudy 
politicks, is, firft to examine and underftand 
what has been written by the ancients upon govern- 
ment; then to caft their eyes round upon the world, 
and confider by what caufes the profperity of com- 
munities is vifibly influenced, and why fome are 
worfe, and others better adminiftered. 

The fame method mud be purfued by him who 
hopes to become eminent in any other part of know- 
ledge. The firft talk is to fearch books, the next to 
contemplate nature. He muft firft poiTefs himfelf 
of the intellectual treafures which the diligence of 
former ages has accumulated, and then endeavour 
to increafe them by his own collections. 

The mental difeafe of the prefent generation, is 
impatience of ftudy, contempt of the great mailers 


N*i54- THE RAMBLER. 83 

of ancient wifdom, and a difpofition to rely wholly 
upon unaffifted genius and natural fagacity. The 
wits of thefe happy days have difcovered a way to 
fame, which the dull caution of our laborious an- 
ceftors durft never attempt ; they cut the knots of 
fophiftry which it was formerly the bufmefs of years 
to untie, folve difficulties by fudden irradiations of 
intelligence, and comprehend long precedes of ar->- 
gument by immediate intuition. 

Men who have flattered themfelves into this opi- 
nion of their own abilities, look down on all who 
wafte their lives over books, as a race of inferior 
beings, condemned by nature to perpetual pupillage* 
and fruidefsly endeavouring to remedy their barren- 
nefs by inceffant cultivation, or fuccour their feeble- 
nefs by fubfidiary ftrengtru They prefume that none 
would be more induftrious than they, if they were 
not more fenfible of deficiencies j and readily con- 
clude, that he who places no confidence in his own 
powers, owes his modeity only to his weaknefs. 

It is however certain, that no eftimate is more in 
danger of erroneous calculations than thofe by which 
a man computes the force of his own genius. It ge- 
nerally happens at our entrance into the world, that 
by the natural attraction of fimilitude, we afibciate 
with men like ourfelves, young, fprightly, and 
ignorant, an'd rate our accomplifhments by com- 
parifon with theirs ; when we have once obtained 
an acknowledged fuperiority over our acquaint- 
ances, imagination and defire eaftly extend it over 
the reft of mankind, and if no accident forces us 
into new emulations, we grow old, and die in ad- 
miration of ourfelves* 

G a Vanity, 

84 THE RAMBLER. N 154. 

Vanity, thus confirmed in her dominion, readily 
liftens to the voice of idlenefs, and foothes the (lum- 
ber of life with continual dreams of excellence and 
greatnefs. A man elated by confidence in his na- 
tural vigour of fancy and fagacity of conjecture> 
foon concludes that he already poflefTes whatever 
toil and enquiry can confer. He then liftens with 
eagernefs to the wild objections which folly has 
raifed againft the common means of improvement > 
talks of the dark chaos of indigefled knowledge J 
defcribes the mifchievous effects of heterogeneous 
fciences fermenting in the mind ; relates the blun- 
ders of lettered ignorance ; expatiates on the he- 
roick merit of thofe who deviate from prefcription, 
or fhake off authority ; and gives vent to the infla- 
tions of his heart by declaring that he owes nothing 
to pedants and univerfities. 

All thefe pretenfions, however confident, are very 
often vain. The laurels which fuperficial acutenefs 
gains in triumphs over ignorance unfupported by 
vivacity, are obferved by Locke to be loft, whenever 
real learning and rational diligence appear againft 
her j the fallies of gaiety are foon reprefled by calm 
confidence ; and the artifices of fubtilty are readily 
detected by thofe who, having carefully ftudied the 
queftion, are not eafily confounded or furprifed. 

But though the contemner of books had neither 
been deceived by others nor himfelf, and was really 
born with a genius furpafllng the ordinary abilities of 
mankind ; yet furely fuch gifts of providence may be 
more properly urged as incitements to labour, than 
encouragements to negligence. He that neglects the 
culture of ground, naturally fertile, is more (hame r 


N'i54- THE RAMBLER. g^ 

fully culpable than he whofe field would fcarccly re- 
compenfe his husbandry. 

Cicero remarks, that not to know what has been 
tranfacted in former times, is to continue always a 
child. If no ufe is made of the labours of pad ages, 
the world muft remain always in the infancy of know- 
ledge. The difcoveries of every man muft terminate 
in his own advantage, and the ftudies of every age 
be employed on queftions which the pail generation 
had difcuflTed and determined. We may with as 
little reproach borrow fcience as manufactures from 
our anceftors ; and it is as rational to live in caves 
till our own hands have creeled a palace, as to reject 
all knowledge of architecture, which our underftand- 
ings will not fupply. 

To the ftrongeft and quickefl mind it is far eafier 
to learn than to invent. The principles of arithme- 
tick and geometry may be comprehended by a clofe 
attention in a few days j yet who can flatter himfelf 
that the ftudy of a long life would have enabled him 
to difcover them, when he fees them yet unknown to 
fo many nations, whom he cannot fuppofe lefs libe- 
rally endowed with natural reafon, than the Grecians 
or Egyptians ? 

Every fcience was thus far advanced towards per- 
fection, by the emulous diligence of contemporary 
ftudents, and the gradual difcoveries of one age im- 
proving on another. Sometimes unexpected flalhes 
of inftruction were (truck out by the fortuitous col- 
lifion of happy incidents, or an involuntary concur- 
rence of ideas, in which the philofopher to whom they 
happened had no other merit than that of knowing 
their value, and transmitting, unclouded to pofterity, 

G 3 that 

86 THE RAMBLER. N- 154. 

that light which had been kindled by caufes out of 
his power. The happinefs of thefe cafual illumi- 
nations no man can promife to himfelf, becaufe no 
endeavours can procure them ; and therefore what- 
ever be our abilities or application, we muft fubmic 
to learn from others what perhaps would have lain 
hid for ever from human penetration, had not fome 
remote enquiry brought it to view; as treafures are 
thrown up by the ploughman and the digger in the 
rude exercife of their common occupations. 

The man whofe genius qualifies him for great 
undertakings, muft at leaft be content to learn from 
books the prefent ftate of human knowledge; that 
he may not afcribe to himfelf the invention of -arts 
generally known ; weary his attention with experi- 
ments of which the event has been long regiftered ; 
and wafte, in attempts which have already fucceeded 
or mifcarried, that time which might have been fpent 
with ufcfulnefs and honour upon new undertakings. 

But though the ftudy of books is neceflary, it is 
not fufficient to conflitute literary eminence. He 
that wiflies to be counted among the benefactors of 
pofterity, muft add by his own toil to the acquifitions 
of his anceftors, and fecure his memory from neglect 
by fome valuable improvement. This can only be 
effected by looking out upon the waftes of the intel- 
lectual world, and extending the power of learning 
over regions yet undifciplined and barbarous; or by 
furveying more exactly our ancient dominions, and 
driving ignorance from the fortrefles and retreats 
where fhe fkulks undetected and undifturbed. Every 
icience has its difficulties which yet call for folution 
before we attempt new fyfterns of knowledge; as 


N 154, THE RAMBLER. 87 

every country has its forefts and marfhes, which it 
would be wife to cultivate and drain, before diftant 
colonies are projected as a necefTary di (charge of the 
exuberance of inhabitants. 

No man ever yet became great by imitation. 
Whatever hopes for the veneration of mankind mud 
have invention in the defign or the execution ; either 
the effect muft itfelf be new, or the means by which 
it is produced. Either truths hitherto unknown muft 
be difcovered, or thofe which are already known en- 
forced by ftronger evidence, facilitated . by clearer 
method, or elucidated by brighter illuftrations. 

Fame cannot fprea.d wide or endure long that is 
not rooted in nature, and manured by art. That 
which hopes to refill the blaft of malignity, and fland 
firm again(b the attacks of time, muft contain in it- 
felf fome original principle of growth. The repu- 
tation which ariles from the detail or tranfpofition of 
borrowed fentiments, may fpread for a while, like ivy 
on the rind of antiquity, but will be torn away by 
accident or contempt, and fuffered to rot unheeded 
on the ground. 

G 4 


NUMB. 155. TUESDAY, September 10, 1751. 

Steriles tranfmi/imus annas, 

Hate a*vi mibi prima dies, hcec limina vitee, $TAT 

Our barren years are paft ; 

Be this oflife the firfl, of floth the laft. ELP HI NSTON. 

NO weaknefs of the human mind has more fre- 
quently incurred animadverfion, than the ne- 
gligence with which men overlook their own faults, 
however flagrant, and the eafmefs with which they 
pardon them, however frequently repeated. 

It feems generally believed, that as the eye cannot 
fee itfelf, the mind has no faculties by which it can 
contemplate its own flate, and that therefore we have 
not means of becoming acquainted with our real 
characters ; an opinion which, like innumerable 
other poftulates, an enquirer finds himfelf inclined 
to admit upon very little evidence, becaufe it affords 
a ready folution of many difficulties. It will explain 
why the greateft abilities frequently fail to promote 
the happinefs of thofe who poflefs them ; why thofe 
who can diftinguifh with the utmoft nicety the boun- 
daries of vice and virtue, fuflfer them to be con- 
founded in their own conduct; why the active and 
vigilant refign their affairs implicitly to the manage- 
ment of others; and why the cautious and fearful 
make hourly approaches towards ruin, without one 
figh of folicitude or ftruggle for efcape. 


N'i55- THE RAMBLER. 89 

When a pofition teems thus with commodious 
confequences, who can without regret confefs it to 
be falfe ? Yet it is certain that declaimers have in- 
dulged a difpofition to defcribe the dominion of the 
pafiions as extended beyond the limits that nature 
affigned. Self-love is often rather arrogant than 
blind ; it does not hide our faults from ourfelves, 
but perfuades us that they efcape the notice of others, 
and difpofes us to refent cenfures left we fhould 
confefs them to be juft. We are fecretly confcious 
of defects and vices which we hope to conceal from 
the publick eye, and pleafe ourfelves with innume- 
rable impoftures, by which, in reality, no body is 

In proof of the dimnefs of our internal fight, or 
the general inability of man to determine rightly 
concerning his own character, it is common to 
urge the fuccefs of the moft abfurd and incredible 
flattery, and the refentment always raifed by advice, 
however foft, benevolent, and reafonable. But 
flattery, if its operation be nearly examined, will 
be found to owe its acceptance, not to our ignorance 
but knowledge of our failures, and to delight us 
rather as it confoles our wants than difplays our 
pofiefiions. He that fhall folicit the favour of his 
patron by praifing him for qualities which he can 
find in himfelf, will be defeated by the more daring 
panegyrift who enriches him with adfcititious excel- 
lence. Juft praife is only a debt, but flattery is a 
prefent. The acknowledgment of thofe virtues 
on which confcience congratulates us, is a tribute 
that we can at any time exact with confidence j but 
the celebration of thofe which we only feign, or de- 

$<y THE RAMBLER. ft" 155. 

fire without any vigorous endeavours to attain them, 
is received as a confeffion of fovereignty over re- 
gions never conquered, as a favourable decifion of 
difputable claims, and is more welcome as it is more 

Advice is offenfive, not becaufe it lays us open to 
unexpected regret, or convicts us of any fault which 
had efcaped our notice, but becaufe it Ihows us that 
we are known to others as well as to ourfelves $ and 
the officious monitor is perfecuted with hatred, not 
becaufe his accufation is falfe, but becaufe he aflumes 
that fuperiority which we are not willing to grant 
him, and has dared JQ detect: what we defired to 

For this reafon advice is commonly ineffectual. 
If thofe who follow the call of their defires, without 
enquiry whither they are going, had deviated igno- 
rantly from the paths of wifdom, and were ruih- 
ing upon dangers unforefeen, they would readily 
liften to information that recals them from their 
errors, and catch the firft alarm by which deftruc- 
tion or infamy is denounced. Few that wander 
in the wrong way miftake it for the right, they 
only find it more fmooth and flowery, and indulge 
their own choice rather than approve it: therefore 
few are perfuaded to quit it by admonition or re- 
proof, fince it imprefles no new conviction, nor 
confers any powers of action or refiftance. He 
that is gravely informed how foon profufion will 
annihilate his fortune^ hears with little advantage 
what he knew before, and catches at the next oc- 
cafion of expence, becaufe advice has no force to 
fupprefs his vanity. He that is told how certainly 

3 intempe- 


intemperance will hurry him to the grave, runs 
with his ufual fpeed to a new cjourfe of luxury, be- 
caufe his reafon is not invigorated, nor his appetite 

The mifchief of flattery is, not that it perfuades 
any man that he is what he is not, but that it fup- 
prefies the influence of honeft ambition, by raifing an 
opinion that honour may be gained without the toil 
of merit } and the benefit of advice arifes commonly, 
not from any new light imparted to the mind, but 
from the difcovery which it affords of the publick 
fuffrages. He that could withiland confcience is 
frighted at infamy, and ihame prevails when reafon 
was defeated. 

As we all know our own faults, and know them 
commonly with many aggravations which human 
perfpicacity cannot difcover, there is, perhaps, no 
man, however hardened by impudence or difli- 
pated by levity, fheltered by hypocrify or blafted 
by difgrace, who does not intend fome time to 
review his conduct, and to regulate the remainder 
of his life by the laws of virtue. New tempta- 
tions indeed attack him, new invitations are offered 
by pleafure and intereft, and the hour of reforma- 
tion is always delayed j every delay gives vice 
Another opportunity of fortifying itfelf by habit ; 
and the change of manners, though fincerely in- 
tended and rationally planned, is referred to the 
time when fome craving paffion fhall be fully gra- 
tified, or fome powerful allurement ceafe its im- 

Thus procrafti nation is accumulated on pro- 
raflination, and one impediment fucceeds ano- 

92 THE RAMBLER. N 155. 

ther, till age (hatters our refolution, or death inter- 
cepts the project of amendment. Such is often the 
end of falutary purpofes, after they have long de- 
lighted the imagination, and appeafed that difquiet 
which every mind feels from known rnifconduct, 
-when the attention is not diverted by bufinefs or by 

Nothing furely can be more unworthy of a reafon- 
able nature, than to continue in a (late fo oppofite to 
real happinefs, as that all the peace of folitude, and 
felicity of meditation, muft arife from refolutions of 
forfaking it. Yet the world will often afford ex- 
amples of men, who pafs months and years in a con- 
tinual war with their own convictions, and are daily 
dragged by habit, or betrayed by paffion, into prac- 
tices which they clofed and opened their eyes with 
purpofes to avoid ; purpofes which, though fettled 
on conviction, the firft impulfe of momentary defire 
totally overthrows. 

The influence of cuftom is indeed fuch, that to 
conquer it will require the utmoft efforts of forti- 
tude and virtue j nor can I think any man more 
worthy of veneration and renown, than thofe who 
have burft the (hackles of habitual vice. This 
victory however has different degrees of glory as 
of difficulty ; it is more heroick as the objects of 
guilty gratification are more familiar, and the re- 
currence of felicitation more frequent. He that 
from experience of the folly of ambition refigns his 
offices, may fet himfelf free at once from tempta- 
tion to fquander his life in courts, becaufe he can- 
not regain his former flation. He who is enflaved 
by an amorous pafiion, may quit his tyrant in d\i~- 


N* 155. THE RAMBLER. 93 

guft, and abfence will, without the help of reafon, 
overcome by degrees the defire of returning. But 
thofe appetites to which every place affords their 
proper object, and which require no preparatory 
meafures or gradual advances, are more tenacioufly 
adhefivej the wifh is fo near the enjoyment that 
compliance often precedes confideration, and before 
the powers of reafon can be fummoned, the time for 
employing them is paft. 

Indolence is therefore one of the vices from which 
thofe whom it once infects are feldom reformed. 
Every other fpecies of luxury operates upon fome 
appetite that is quickly fatiated, and requires fome 
concurrence of art or accident which every place will 
not fupply j but the defire of eale acts equally at all 
hours, and the longer it is indulged is the more in- 
creafed. To do nothing is in every man's power ^ 
we can never want an opportunity of omitting duties. 
The lapfe to indolence is foft and imperceptible, be- 
caufe it is only a mere cefTation of activity ; but the 
return to diligence is difficult, becaufe it implies a 
change from reft to motion, from privation to reality. 

Fatilis defcenfus averni : 
Nofles atque dies patet atri janua ditis ; 
Sed re*vocare gradum, fuperafq^ue e'vadere ad auras t 
Hoc opus, hie labor eft. Vl R G . 

The gates of Bell are open night and day ; 

Smooth the defcent, and eafy is the way ; 

But to return, and view the cheerful fldes, 

In this the tafk and mighty labour lies. D.i y D E N. 


94 THE RAMBLER. N 15$. 

Of this vice, as of all others, every man who in- 
dulges it is confcious ; we all know our own ftate, if 
we could be induced to confider it, and it might per- 
haps be ufeful to the conqueft of all thefe enfnarers of 
the mind, if at certain ftated days life was reviewed. 
Many things neceffary are omitted, becaufe we vainly 
imagine that they may be always performed j and 
what cannot be done without pain will for ever be de- 
layed, if the time of doing it be left unfettled. No 
corruption is great but by long negligence, which can 
fcarcely prevail in a mind regularly and frequently 
awakened by periodical remorfe* He that thus 
breaks his life into parts, will find in himfelf a defire 
to diftinguifh every ftage of his exiftence by fome im* 
provement, and delight himfelf with the approach of 
the day of recolle&ion, as of the time which is to be* 
gin a new feries of virtue and felicity. 


NUMB. 156. SATURDAY, September 14, 1751* 

Nunquam aliud natura% aliud fapientia dirit* Jvv 

For Wifdom ever echoes Nature's voice. 

EVERY government, fay the politicians, is per- 
petually degenerating towards corruption, from 
which it muft be refcued at certain periods by the 
refufcitation of its firft principles, and the re-efta- 
blifhment of its original conftitution. Every ani- 
mal body, according to the methodick phyficians, 
Is, by the predominance of fome exuberant quality, 
continually declining towards difeafe and death, 
which muft be obviated by a feafonable reduction of 
the peccant humour to the juft equipoife which health 

In the fame manner the fttidies of mankind, all at 
leaft which, not being fubjecl: to rigorous demonftra- 
tion, admit the influence of fancy and caprice, are 
perpetually tending to error and confufion. Of the 
great principles of truth which the firft (peculatifta 
difcovered, the fimplicity is embarrafied by ambitious 
additionSj or the evidence obfcured by inaccurate 
augmentation ; and as they defcend from one fuccef- 
fion of writers to another, like light tranfmitted from 
room to room, they lofe their ftrength and fplendour, 
and fade at laft in total evanefcence. 

The fyftems of learning therefore muft be fome- 
times reviewed, complications analyfed into prin- 
ciples, and knowledge difeutangled from opinion. 


56 THE RAMBLER. N 156. 

It is not always pofiible, without a clofe infpection, 
to feparate the genuine fhoots of confequential rea- 
foning, which grow out of fome radical poftulate, 
from the branches which art has grafted on it* 
The accidental prefcriptions of authority, when time 
has procured them veneration, are often confounded 
with the laws of nature, and thofe rules are fuppofed 
coeval with reafon, of which the firft rife cannot be 

Criticifm has Ibmetimes permitted fancy to dictate 
the laws by which fancy ought to be reftrained, and 
fallacy to perplex the principles by which fallacy is 
to be detected ; her fuperintendence of others has be- 
trayed her to negligence of herfelf; and, like the 
ancient Scythians, by extending her conquefts over 
diftant regions, fhe has left her throne vacant to her 

Among the laws of which the define of extend- 
ing authority, or ardour of promoting knowledge, 
has prompted the prefcription, all which writers 
have received, had not the fame original right to 
our regard. Some are to be confidered as funda- 
mental and indifpenfable, others only as ufeful and 
convenient j fome as dictated by reafon and necef- 
fity, others as enacted by defpotick antiquity ; 
fome as invincibly fupported by their conformity 
to the order of nature and operations of the intel- 
lect ; others as formed by accident, or inftituted by 
example, and therefore always liable to difpute and 

That many rules have been advanced without 
confulting nature or reafon, we cannot but fufpect, 
when we find it peremptorily decreed by the ancient 


~N*i$6. tUE HAMBLER. 97 

mailers, that only three fpeaking perfonages fhould ap- 
pear at ones upon theflage j a law which, as the variety 
and intricacy of modern plays has made ic impoffible 
to be obferved, we now violate without fcruple, and, 
as experience proves, without inconvenience. 

The original of this precept was merely accidental. 
Tragedy was a monody or folitary fong in honour of 
Bacchus, improved afterwards into a dialogue by the 
addition of another fpeaker j but the ancients, re- 
membering that the tragedy was at firft pronounced 
only by one, durft not for fome time venture beyond 
two; at laft, when cuftom and impunity had made 
them daring, they extended their liberty to the ad- 
million of three, but reftrained themfelves by a criti- 
cal edict from further exorbitance. 

By what accident the number of acts was limited 
to five, I know not that any author has informed 
us ; but certainly it is not determined by any necef- 
fity arifing either from the nature of action or pro- 
priety of exhibition. An act is only the reprefenta- 
tion of fuch a part of the bufmefs of the play as pro- 
ceeds in an unbroken tenor, or without any inter- 
mediate paufe* Nothing is more evident than that 
of every real, and by confequence of every dramaiick 
action, the intervals may be more or fewer than five ; 
and indeed the rule is upon the Engli/h ftage every 
day broken in effect, without any other mifchief than 
that which ariles from an abfurd endeavour to ob- 
ferve it in appearance. Whenever the fcene is fhifted 
the act ceafes, fince fome time is neceffarily fuppofed 
to elapfe while the perfonages of the drama change 
their place. 

VOL. VI. H With 

9$ THE RAMBLER, ,N 156; 

With no greater right to our obedience have the 
criticks confined the dramatick action to a certain 
number of hours. Probability requires that the time 
of action fhould approach fomewhat nearly to that of 
exhibition, and thofe plays will always be thought 
moft happily conducted which crowd the greateft 
variety into the leaft fpace. But fince it will fre- 
quently happen that fbme delufion muft be admitted, 
I know not where the limits of imagination can be 
fixed. It is rarely obferved that minds, not prepof- 
fefled by mechanical criticifm, feel any offence from 
the extenfion of the intervals between the acts , nor 
ean I conceive it abfurd or impoffible, that he who 
can multiply three hours into twelve or twenty-four, 
might image with equal eafe a greater number. 

I know not whether he that profefles to regard no 
other laws than thofe of nature, will not be inclined 
to receive tragi- comedy to his protection, whom, 
however generally condemned, her own laurels have; 
hitherto fhaded from the fulminations of criticifm, 
For what is there in the mingled drama which im- 
partial reafon ean condemn ? The connexion of im- 
portant with trivial incidents, fince it is not only 
common but perpetual in the world, may furely be 
allowed upon the ftage, which pretends only to be 
the mirrour of life. The impropriety of fupprefiing 
pafllons before we have raifed them to the intended 
agitation, and of diverting the expectation from art 
event which we keep fufpended only to raife it, may 
be fpecioufly urged. But will not experience fhew 
this objection to Jbe rather fubtle than juft ? Is it not 
certain that the tragick and comick affections have 
. / i>een 

tti5 THE RAMBLER. 99 

been moved alternately with equal force, and that no 
plays have oftener filled the eye with tears, and the 
bread with palpitation, than thofe which are varie- 
gated with interludes of mirth ? 

I do riot however think it fafe to judge of works of 
genius merely by the event. The refiftlefs viciffi- 
tudes of the heart> this alternate prevalence of merri- 
ment and folemnity, may fometimes be more pro- 
perly afcribecl to the vigour of the writer than the 
juftnefs of the defign : and inftead of vindicating 
tragi-comedy by the fuccefs of Shakefpeare^ we ought 
perhaps to pay new honours to that tranfcendent and 
unbounded genius that could prefide over the paffions 
in fport j whoj to actuate the affections, needed not 
the flow gradation of common means, but could fill 
the heart with inftantaneous jollity or forrow, and vary 
our difpofition as he changed his fcenes. Perhaps 
the effects even of Sbakefpeares poetry might have 
been yet greater, had he not counteracted himfelf ; 
and we might have been more interelted in the di- 
ftreffes of his heroes, had we not been fo frequently 
diverted by the jokes of his buffoons. 

There are other rules more fixed and obligatory. 
It is neceffary that of every play the chief action 
ftiould be fingle -, for fince a play reprefents fome 
tranfaction, through its regular maturation to its final 
event, two actions equally important muft evidently 
conftitute two plays. 

As the defign of tragedy is to inftruct by moving 
the paflions, it miift always have a hero, a perfon- 
age apparently and inconteftably fuperior to the reft, 
upon whom the attention may be fixed, and the 
anxiety fufpended. For though of two perfons op- 

H i poring 

ioo THE RAMBLER. N 156. 

pofing each other with equal abilities and equal vir- 
tue, the auditor will inevitably in time choofe his fa- 
vourite, yet as that choice muft be without any co- 
gency of conviction, the hopes or fears which it raifes 
will be faint and languid. Of two heroes acting in 
confederacy againft a common enemy, the virtues or 
dangers will give little emotion, becaufe each claims 
.our concern with the fame right, and the heart lies 
at reft between equal motives. 

It ought to be the firft endeavour of a writer to 
diftinguifh nature from cuftom j or that which is efta- 
blifhed becaufe it is right, from that which is right 
only becaufe it is eftablifhed j that he may neither 
violate efiential principles by a defire of novelty, nor 
debar himfelf from the attainment of beauties within 
his view, by a needlefs fear of breaking rules which 
no literary dictator had authority to enact. 

N 157. THE RAMBLER. 101 

NUMB. 157. TUESDAY, September 17, 1751 

onvtmi* HOM. 

Shame greatly hurts or greatly helps mankind. 


To the RAMBLER. 
S I R, 

THOUGH one of your correfpondents has 
prefumed to mention with fome contempt that 
prefence of attention and eafinefs of addrefs, which 
the polite have long agreed to celebrate and efteem, 
yet I cannot be perfuaded to think them unworthy of 
regard or cultivation j but am inclined to believe 
that, as we feldom value rightly what we have never 
known the mifery of wanting, his judgment has been 
vitiated by his happinefs j and that a natural exube- 
rance of affurance has hindered him from difcovering 
its excellence and ufe. 

This felicity, whether beftowed by conftitution, 
or obtained by early habitudes, I can fcarccly con- 
template without envy. I was bred under a man of 
learning in the country, who inculcated nothing but 
the dignity of knowledge, and the happinefs of vir- 
tue. By frequency of admonition, and confidence of 
afTertion, he prevailed upon me to believe, that the 
fplendour of literature would always attract reve- 
rence, if hot darkened by corruption. I therefore 
purfued my ftudies with inceffant jnduftryj, ancj 
avoided every thing which I had been taught to con- 

tl fider 

102 THE RAMBLER. N 157. 

fider either as vicious or tending to vice, becaufe I 
regarded guilt and reproach as infeparably united, and 
thought a tainted reputation the greateft calamity. 

At the univerfity, I found no reafon for changing 
rny opinion ; for though many among my fellow- 
itudents took the opportunity of a more remifs dif- 
cipline to gratify their paffions ; yet virtue preferved 
her natural fuperiority, and thofe who ventured to 
neglect, were not fuffered to infuk her. The ambi- 
tion of petty accomplifhments found its way into the 
receptacles of learning, but was obferved to feize 
commonly on thofe who either neglected the fciences 
or could not attain them ; and I was therefore con* 
firmed in the doctrines of my old mafter, and thought; 
nothing worthy of my care but the means of gaining 
or imparting knowledge. 

This purity of manners, and intenfenefs of appli- 
cation, foon extended my renown, and I was ap- 
plauded by thofe, whofe opinion I then thought un- 
likely to deceive me, as a young man that gave un- 
common hopes of future eminence. My perform-* 
ances in time reached my native province, and my 
relations congratulated themfelves upon the new 
honours that were added to their family. 

I returned home covered with academical laurels, 
and fraught with criticifm and philofophy. The wit 
and the fcholar excited curiofity, and my acquaintance 
was foliated by innumerable invitations. To pleafe 
will always be the wilh of benevolence, to be admired 
mud be the conftant aim of ambition ; and I there- 
fore confidered myfelf as about to receive the reward 
of my honeft labours, and to find the efficacy of 
learning and of virtue, 


N*i57- THE RAMBLER. 103 

. The third day after my arrival I dined at the houfe 
of a gentleman who had fummoned a multitude of 
his friends to the annual celebration of his wedding- 
day. I fet forward with great exultation, and thought 
myfelf happy that I had an opportunity of difplaying 
my knowledge to fo numerous an aflembly. I felt 
no fenfe of my own infufficiency, till going up flairs 
to the dining-room, I heard the mingled roar of ob- 
flreperous merriment. I was however difgufted ra- 
ther than terrified, and went forward without dejec- 
tion. The whole company rofe at my entrance; but 
when I faw fo many eyes fixed at once upon me, 
I was blafted with a fudden imbecility, I was quell- 
ed by fome namelefs power which I found impofiible 
to be refilled. My fight was dazzled, my cheeks 
glowed, my perceptions were confounded j I was 
haraffed by the multitude of eager falutations, and 
returned the common civilities with hefitation and 
impropriety ; the fenfe of my own blunders increafed 
my confufion, and before the exchange of ceremo- 
nies allowed me to fit down, I was ready to fink un- 
der the oppreffion of furprize; my voice grew weak, 
and my knees trembled. 

The affembly then refumed their places, and I fat 
with my eyes fixed upon the ground. To the que- 
ftions of curiofity, or the appeals of complaifance, I 
could feldom anfwer but with negative monofylla- 
bles, or profeffions of ignorance ; for the fubjecl:s on 
which they converted, were fuch as are feldom dif- 
cufled in books, and were therefore out of my range 
of knowledge. At length an old clergyman, who 
rightly conjectured the reafon of my concifenefs, re- 
lieved me by fome queftions about the prefcnt ftate 

H 4 of 

104 THE RAMBLER. N' 157. 

of natural knowledge, and engaged me by an ap- 
pearance of doubt and oppofition, in the explication 
and defence of the Newtonian philofophy. 

The confcioufnefs of my own abilities roufed me 
from deprefiion, and long familiarity with my fub- 
ject enabled me to difcourfe with eafe and volubility; 
but however I might pleafe myfelf, I found very lit- 
tle added by my demonftrations to the fatisfaction of 
the company and my antagonift, who knew the laws 
of converfation too well to detain their attention long 
upon an unpleafing topick, after he had commended 
my acutenefs and comprehenfion, difmifled the con- 
troverfy, and refigned me to my former infignifi- 
cance and perplexity. 

After dinner, I received from the ladies^ who had 
heard that I was a wit, an invitation to the tea-table. 
I congratulated myfelf upon an opportunity to efcape 
from the company, whofe gaiety began to be tumul- 
tuous, and among whom feveral hints had been 
dropped of the ufeleffnefs of univerfities, the folly of 
book-learning, and the awkwardnefs of fcholars. To 
the ladies therefore I flew, as to a refuge from cla- 
mour, infult, and rufticity; but found my heart fink 
as I approached their apartment, and was again dif- 
concerted by the ceremonies of entrance, and con- 
founded by the neceflity of encountering fo many 
eyes at once. 

When I fat down I confidered that fomething 
pretty was always faid to ladies, and refplved to re- 
cover my credit by fome elegant obfervation or grace- 
ful compliment. I applied myfelf to the recollection 
of all that I had read or heard in praife of beauty, 
and endeavoured to accommodate fome clafiical com- 


pliment to the prefent occafion. I funk into pro- 
found meditation, revolved the characters of the he- 
roines of old, confidered whatever the poets have 
fung in their praife, and after having borrowed and 
invented, chofen and rejected a thoufand fentiments, 
which, if I had uttered them, would not have been 
underftood, I was awakened from my dream of learn- 
ed gallantry, by the fervant who diftributed the tea. 

There are not many fituations more inceiTantly 
uneafy than that in which the man is placed who is 
watching an opportunity to fpeak, without courage 
to take it when it is offered, and who, though he 
refolves to give a fpecimen of his abilities, always 
finds fome reafon or other for delaying it to the next 
minute. I was afhamed of filence, yet could find 
nothing to fay of elegance or importance equal to my 
wifhes. The ladies, afraid of my learning, thought 
themfelves not qualified to propofe any fubject of 
prattle to a man fo famous for difpute, and there was 
nothing on either fide but impatience and vexation. 

In this conflict of fhame, as I was reaflembling 
my fcattered fentiments, and, refolving to force my 
imagination to fome fprightly fally, had juft found a 
very happy compliment, by too much attention to 
my own meditations, I fuffered the faucer to drop 
from my hand. The cup was broken, the lap-dog 
was fcalded, a brocaded petticoat was flained, and the 
whole afTembly was thrown into diforder. I now con- 
fidered all hopes of reputation as at an end, and 
while they were confoling and afiifting one another, 
ftole away in filence. 

The mifadventures of this unhappy day are not yet 
at an end ; I am afraid of meeting the meaneft of 



them that triumphed over me in this flate of ftupi- 
dity and contempt, and feel the fame terrors en- 
croaching upon my heart at the fight of thofe who 
have once impreffed them. Shame, above any other 
pafllon, propagates itfelf. Before thofe who have 
feen me cbnfufed, I can never appear without new 
confufion, and the remembrance of the weaknefs 
which I formerly difcovered, hinders me from acting 
or fpeaking with my natural force. 

But is this mifery, Mr. Rambler^ never to ceafe ? 
have I fpent my life in ftudy only to become the fport 
of the ignorant, and debarred myfelf from all the 
common enjoyments of youth to colled ideas which 
muft fleep in filence, and form opinions which I muft 
not divulge ? Inform me, dear Sir, by what means I 
may refcue my faculties from thefe fhackles of cow- 
ardice, how I may rife to a level with my fellow- be- 
ings, recal myfelf from this languor of involuntary 
fubje6lion to the free exertion of my intellects, and 
add to the power of reafoning the liberty of fpeech. 

I am, S I R, &c. 



NUMB. 158. SATURDAY, September 2 1, 1751. 

Grammatici cert ant, et adbuc fub judice Us eft. HOR. 

Criticks yet contend, 
And of their vain difputings find no end, FRANCIS. 

CRITICISM, though dignified from the ear- 
lied ages by the labours of men eminent for 
knowledge and fagacity, and, fince the revival of 
polite literature, the favourite ftudy of European 
fcholars, has not yet attained the certainty and 
liability of fcience. The rules hitherto received 
are feldom drawn from any fettled principle or 
felf- evident poftulate, or adapted to the natural 
and invariable conftitution of things ; but will be 
found upon examination, the arbitrary edicts of le- 
giflators, authorifed only by themfelves, who, out 
of various means by which the fame end may 
be attained, felected fuch as happened to occur 
to their own reflection, and then, by a law which 
idlenefs and timidity were too willing to obey, 
prohibited new experiments of wit, retrained fancy 
from the indulgence of her innate inclination to 
hazard and adventure, and condemned all future 
flights of genius to purfue the path of the Meonian 

This authority may be more juftly oppofed, as it 
Is apparently derived from them whom they endea- 
your to pontroul; for we owe few of the rules of 


io3 THE RAMBLER. N* 158. 

writing to the acutenefs of criticks, who have ge- 
nerally no other merit than that, having read the 
works of great authors with attention, they have ob- 
ferved the arrangement of their matter, or the graces 
of their expreflion, and then expelled honour and 
reverence for precepts which they never could have 
invented : fo that practice has introduced rules, ra- 
ther than rules have directed practice. 

For this reafon the laws of every fpecies of writ- 
ing have been fettled by the ideas of him who firft 
raifed it to reputation, without enquiry whether 
his performances were not yet fufceptible of improve- 
ment. The excellencies and faults of celebrated 
writers have been equally recommended to pofterity ; 
and fo far has blind reverence prevailed, that even 
the number of .their books has been thought worthy 
of imitation. 

The imagination of the firfl authors of lyrick 
poetry was vehement and rapid, and their know- 
ledge various and extenfive. Living in an age 
when fcience had been little cultivated, and when 
the minds of their auditors, not being accuflomed 
to accurate inflection, were eafily dazzled by glaring 
ideas, they applied themfelves to inftruct, rather by 
Ihort fentences and ftriking thoughts, than by re- 
gular argumentation j and finding attention more 
fuccefsfully excited by fudden fallies and unexpected 
exclamations, than by the more artful and placid 
beauties of methodical deduction, they loofed their 
genius to its own courfe, parTed from one fentiment 
to another without exprefiing the intermediate ideas, 
and roved at large over the ideal world with fuch 


K 158. THE RAMBLER. 109 

lightnefs and agility, that their footfteps are fcarcely 
to be traced. 

From this accidental peculiarity of the ancient 
writers the criticks deduce the rules of lyrick poetry, 
which they have fet free from all the laws by which 
other compofitions are confined, and allow to neglect 
the niceties of tranfition, to ftart into remote digref- 
Jions, and to wander without reftraint from one fcene 
of imagery to another. 

A writer of later times has, by the vivacity of his 
eflays, reconciled mankind to the fame licentiouf- 
nefs in fhort diflertations j and he therefore who 
wants fkill to form a plan, or diligence to purfue 
it, needs only entitle his performance an eflay, to 
acquire the right of heaping together the collections 
of half his life, without order, coherence, or pro- 

In, writing, as in life, faults are endured without 
difguft when they are affbciated with tranfcendent 
merit, and may be fometimes recommended to 
weak judgments by the luftre which they obtain 
from their union with excellence ; but it is the bufi- 
nefs of thofe who prefume to fuperintend the taftc 
or morals of mankind, to feparate delufive combi- 
nations, and diftinguifh that which may be praifed 
from that which can only be excufed. As vices 
never promote happinefs, though when overpowered 
by more active and more numerous virtues, they 
cannot totally deftroy it j fo confufion and irregu- 
larity produce no beauty, though they cannot always 
obftruct the brightnefs of genius and learning. To 
proceed from one truth to another, and connect dif- 
tant propofitions by regular confequences, is the 



great prerogative of man. Independent and uncon- 
nected fentiments flafhing upon the mind in quick 
fucceffion, mayj for a time, delight by their novelty, 
but they differ from fyftematical reafoning, as fingle 
notes from harmony, as glances of lightning from 
the radiance of the fun. 

When rules are thus drawn, rather from prece- 
dents than reafon, there is danger not only from 
the faults of an author, but from the errors of 
thofe who cnticife his works ; fince they may often 
miflead their pupils by falfe reprefentations, as the 
Ciceronians of the fixteenth century were betrayed 
into barbarifms by corrupt copies of their darling 

It is eflablifhed at prefent, that the proemial lines 
of a poem, in which the general fubject is propofed, 
muft be void of glitter and embellifhment. " The 
< c firft lines of Paradife Loft," fays 4ddtfon y " are 
* c perhaps as plain, fimple, and unadorned, as any 
** of the whole poem, in which particular the. author 
" has conformed himfelf to the example of Homer ^ 
f and the precept of Horace." 

This obfervation feems to have been made by an 
implicit adoption of the common opinion; without 
confideration either of the precept or example. 
Had Horace been confulted, he would have been 
found to direct only what fliould be comprifed in the 
propofition, not how it fhould be exprefTed, and to 
have commended Homer in oppofition to a meaner 
poet, not for the graduni elevation of his diction, 
but the judicious expanfion of his plan ; for difplay- 
ing unpromifed events, not for producing unexpected 



Speciofa dehinc miracula promit t 
Antiphaten Scyllamque, f? cum Cyclops Charyldim* 

But from a cloud of fmoke he breaks to light* 

And pours his fpecious miracles to fight} 

Antipkates his hideous feaft devours, 

Chary bdis barks, and Polyphemus roars. PRANCIS* 

If the exordial verfes of Homer be compared with 
the reft of the poem, they will not appear remark- 
able for plainnefs or fimplicity, but rather eminently 
adorned and illuminated. 

IIoXAwv $' dfyairut "bs* area, x} voot syva 

oMa oy 

'A^n/fAv' yvls Tv^*i Jfj srov irai^ov* 
'AM' o:;^ J; aTo*y; i^pwcotlo I^AEVO? Treg* 

Hi76*o* aurag o TOKT;> a^stXero vort/Ao* vjfta^, 
Qiv ye, OE, 6'yaT^ Asoj, 

The man, for wifdom's various arts renown'd* 

Long exercis'd in woes, O mufe ! refound. 

Who, when his arms had wrought the deftin'd fall 

Of facred Troy, and raz'd her heav'n-built wall, 

Wand'ring from clime to clime obfervant ftray'd, 

Their manners noted, and their Hates furvey'd, 

On ftormy feas unmamber'd toils he bore, 

Safe with his friends to gain his natal more : 

Vain toils ! their impious folly dar'd to prey 

On herds devoted to the god of day : 

The god vindictive doom'd them never more 

(Ah men unblefs'd) to touch that natal (hore. 

O fnatch fome portion of thefe ads from fate, 

Celeftial mufe ! and to our world relate. POPE. 

1 The 

us THE RAMBLER. Ni 5 3. 

The firft veries of the Iliad are in like manner par- 
ticularly fplendid, and the proportion of the Eneid 
clofes with dignity and magnificence not often to be 
found even in the poetry of Virgil. 

The intent of the introduction is to raife expecta- 
tion, and fufpend it j fomething therefore muft be 
difcovered, and fomething concealed ; and the poet, 
while the fertility of his invention is yet unknown, 
may properly recommend himfelf by the grace of his 

He that reveals too much, or promifes too little ; 
he that never irritates the intellectual appetite, or 
that immediately fatiates it, equally defeats his own 
purpofe. It is neceflary to the pleafure of the reader, 
that the events fhould not be anticipated, and how 
then can his attention be invited, but by grandeur 
of exprefllon ? 


NUMB. 159. TUESDAY, September 24, 

Sunt verba et voces, qui&us hunc lenire dolorem 
PoJJis et magnam morbi deponcre partem. 

The pow'r of words, and foothing founds, appeafe 

The raging pain, and lefien the difeafe. FRANCIS. 

THE imbecility with which Verecundulus com- 
plains that the prefence of a numerous af- 
fembly freezes his faculties, is particularly incident 
to the ftudious part of mankind, whofe education 
neceflfarily fecludes them in their earlier years from 
mingled converfe, till at their difmiffion from 
fchools and academies they plunge at once into the 
tumult of the world, and coming forth from the 
gloom of folitude are overpowered by the blaze of 
publick life. 

It is perhaps kindly provided by nature, that, as 
the feathers and flrength of a bird grow together, 
and her wings are not completed till Ihe is able to 
fly, fo fome proportion fhould be preferved in the 
human kind between judgment and courage ; the 
precipitation of inexperience is therefore reftrained 
by fhame, and we remain fhackled by timidity, till 
we have learned to fpeak and act with propriety. 

I believe few can review the days of their youth, 
without recollecting temptations, which fhame, ra- 
ther than virtue, enabled them to refift ; and opi- 
nions which, however erroneous in their principles,. 

VOL. VI. I and 

m THE RAMBLER. N- 159. 

and dangerous in their confequences, they have pant- 
ed to advance at the hazard of contempt and hatred, 
when they found themfelves irrefiftibly depreffed by 
a languid anxiety, which feized them at the moment 
of utterance, and ftill gathered ftrength from their 
endeavours to refill it. 

It generally happens that affurance keeps an even 
pace with ability, and the fear of mifcarriage, which 
hinders our firft attempts, is gradually diffipated as 
our fkill advances towards certainty of fuccefs. 
That bafhfulnefs therefore which prevents difgrace, 
that fhort and temporary Iharne, which fecures us 
from the danger of lafting reproach, cannot be pro- 
perly counted among our misfortunes. 

Bafhfulnefs, however it may incommode for a 
moment, fcarcely ever produces evils of long con- 
tinuance; it may flufh the cheek, flutter in the heart, 
deject the eyes, and enchain the tongue, but its mif- 
chiefs foon pals off without remembrance. It may 
fometimes exclude pleafure, but feldom opens any 
avenue to forrow or remorfe. It is obferved fome- 
where, that few have repented of having forborne to 

To excite oppofition, and inflame malevolence, is 
the unhappy privilege of courage made arrogant by 
confcioulhefs of ftrength. No man finds in him- 
felf any inclination to attack or oppofe him who 
confefles his fuperiority by blufhing in his pre- 
fence. Qualities exerted with apparent fearfulnefs, 
receive applaufe from every voice, and fupport 
from every hand. Diffidence may check refolu- 
tion and obftruct performance, but compenfates its 
embarraffments by more important advantages; it 


Ni59- THE RAMBLER. 115 

conciliates the proud, and foftens the fevere, averts 
envy from excellence, and cenfure from mifcar- 

It may indeed happen that knowledge and virtue 
remain too long congealed by this frigorifick power, 
as the principles of vegetation are fometimes ob- 
ftructed by lingering frofts. He that enters late 
into a publick ftation, though with all the abilities 
requifite to the difcharge of his duty, will find his 
powers at firft impeded by a timidity which he him- 
felf knows to be vicious, and muft ilruggle long 
againft dejection and reluctance, before he obtains 
the full command of his own attention, and adds the 
gracefulnefs of eafe to the dignity of merit. 

For this difeafe of the mind I know not whether 
any remedies of much efficacy can be found. To 
advife a man unaccuftomed to the eyes of multi- 
tudes to mount a tribunal without perturbation, to 
tell him whofe life was pafled in the fhades of con- 
templation, that he muft not be difconcerted or 
perplexed in receiving and returning the compli- 
ments of a fplendid aflembly, is to advife an inha- 
bitant of Brajil or Sumatra not to fhiver at an Englijb 
winter, or him who has always lived upon a plain to 
look from a precipice without emotion. It is to 
fuppofe cuftom inftantaneoufly controllable by rea- 
Ibn, and to endeavour to communicate fefy precept 
that which only time and habit can beftow, 

He that hopes by philofophy and contemplation 
alone to fortify himfelf againft that awe which all, 
at their firft appearance on the ftage of life, muft 
feel from the fpectators, will, at the hour of need, 
be mocked by his refolution ; and I doubt whether 

I 2 the 


the prefervatives which Plato relates Alcibiades to 
have received from Socrates^ when he was about to 
fpeak in publick, proved fufficient to fecure him 
from the powerful fafcination. 

Yet as the effects of time may by art and induftry 
be accelerated or retarded, it cannot be improper to 
confider how this troublefome inftincT; may be op- 
pofed when it exceeds its juft proportion, and in- 
flead of repreffing petulance and temerity, filences 
eloquence, and debilitates force; fince, though it 
cannot be hoped that anxiety fhould be immediately 
diflipated, it may be at lead fomewhat abated ; and 
the pafTions will operate with lefs violence, when 
reafon rifes againft them, than while fhe either (lum- 
bers in neutrality, or, miftaking her intereft, lends 
them her affiftance. 

No caufe more frequently produces bafiifulnefs 
than too high an opinion of our own importance. 
He that imagines an affembly filled with his merit, 
panting with expectation, and hufhed with attention, 
eafily terrifies himfelf with the dread of difappoint- 
ing them, and drains his imagination in purfuit of 
fomething that may vindicate the veracity of fame, 
and fhew that his reputation was not gained by 
chance. He confiders, that what he fhall fay or do 
will never be forgotten ; that renown or infamy are 
fufpended upon every fyllable, and that nothing 
ought to fall from him which will not bear the teft 
of time. Under fuch folicitude, who can wonder 
that the mind is overwhelmed, and, by ftruggling 
with attempts above her ftrength, quickly finks into 
languilhment and defpondency ? 


Nt59- THE RAMBLER. n; 

The mod ufeful medicines are often nnpleafing 
to the tafte. Thofe who are opprefied by their own 
reputation, will perhaps not be comforted by hear- 
ing that their cares are unneceffary. But the truth 
is, that no man is much regarded by the reft of the 
world. He that confidefs how little he dwells upon 
the condition of others, will learn how little the at- 
tention of others is attracted by himfelf. While we 
fee multitudes pafiing before us, of whom perhaps 
not one appears to deferve our notice, or excite our 
fympathy, we fhould remember, that we likewife 
are loft in the fame throng; that the eye which hap- 
pens to glance upon us is turned in a moment on 
him that follows us, and that the utmoft which we 
can reafonably hope or fear, is to fill a vacant hour 
with prattle, and be forgotten. 

xi8 THE RAMBLER. N i6o 

NUMB. 1 60. SATURDAY, September 28, 1751. 

Inter fe convenit urjis . Juv. 

Bcafts of each kind their fellows fpare; 
Bear lives in amity with bear. 

" fT^HE world," fays Locke, " has people of all 
JL " forts." As in the general hurry pro- 
duced by the fuperfluities of fome, and neceffities of 
others, no man needs to ftand (till for want of em- 
ploy ment> fo in the innumerable gradations of abi- 
lity, and endlefs varieties of ftudy and inclination, 
no employment can be vacant for want of a man 
qualified to difcharge it. 

Such is probably the natural ftate of the univerfe, 
but it is fo much deformed by intereft and paffion, that 
the benefit of this adaptation of men to things is not 
always perceived. The folly or indigence of thofe 
who fet their fervices to fale, inclines them to boaft of 
qualifications which they do not pofiefs, and attempt 
bufmefs which they do not underftand j and they who 
have the power of afligning to others the talk of life, 
are feldom honeft or feldom happy in their nomina- 
tions. Patrons are corrupted by avarice, cheated by 
credulity, or overpowered by refiftlefs folicitation. 
They are fometimes too ftrongly influenced by honeft 
prejudices of friendfhip, or the prevalence of virtuous 
companion. For, whatever cool reafon may direct, 
it is not eafy for a man of tender and fcrupulous 
goodnefs to overlook the immediate effect of his own 
3 actions, 

N 160. THE RAMBLER. 119 

actions, by turning his eyes upon remoter confequen- 
ees, and to do that which muft give prefent pain, for 
the fake of obviating evil yet unfelt, or fecuring ad- 
vantage in time to come. What is diftant is in itfelf 
obfcure, and, when we have no with to fee it, eafily 
efcapes our notice, or takes fuch a form as defire or 
imagination beftows upon it. 

Every man might for the fame reafon, in the mul- 
titudes that fwarm about him, find fome kindred 
mind with which he could unite in confidence and 
friendfhip ; yet we fee many ftraggling fingle about 
the world, unhappy for want of an affociate, and 
pining with the neceflity of confining their fenti- 
ments to their own bofoms. 

This inconvenience arifes in like manner from 
ftruggles of the will againft the underftanding. Ic 
is not often difficult to find a fuitable companion, 
if every man would be content with fuch as he is 
qualified to pleafe. But if vanity tempts him to 
forfake his rank, and poft himfelf among thofe with. 
whom no common intereft or mutual pleafure can 
ever unite him, he mutl always live in a ftate of un- 
focial feparation, without tendernefs and without truft. 

There are many natures which can never ap- 
proach within a certain diftance, and which, when 
any irregular motive impels them towards contact, 
feem to ftart back from each other by fome invin- 
cible repulfion. There are others which immedi- 
ately cohere whenever they come into the reach of 
mutual attraction, and with very little formality of 
preparation mingle intimately as foon as they meet. 
Every man, whom either bufinefs or curiofity has 
thrown at large into the world, will recollect many 

I 4 inftances 

120 THE RAMBLER. N 160. 

inftances of fondnefs and diflike, which have forced 
themfelves upon him without the intervention of his 
judgment; of difpofitions to court fome and avoid 
others, when he could affign no reafon for the pre- 
ference, or none adequate to the violence of his 
paffions ; of influence that ated inftantaneoufly upon 
his mind, and which no arguments or perfuafions 
could ever overcome. 

Among thofe with whom time and intercourfe 
have made us familiar, we feel our affections di- 
vided in different proportions without much regard 
to moral or intellectual merit. Every man knows 
fbme whom he cannot induce himfelf to truft, though 
he has no reafon to fufpeft that they would betray 
him ; thofe to whom he cannot complain, though 
he never obferved them to want compafTion ; thofe 
i,n whofe prefence he never can be gay, though ex- 
cited by invitations to mirth and freedom ; and thofe 
from whom he cannot be content to receive inftruc-. 
tion, though they never infulted his ignorance by 
contempt or oftentation. j 

That much regard is to be had to thofe inftinfts 
of kindnefs and diflike, or that reafon fhould blindly 
follow them, I am far from intending to inculcate : 
It is very certain that by indulgence we may give 
them ftrength which they have not from nature, and 
almoft every example of ingratitude and treachery 
proves, that by obeying them we may commit our 
happinefs to thofe who are very unworthy of fo great 
a truft. But it may defer ve to be remarked, that 
fmce few contend much with their inclinations, it is 
generally vain to folicit the good-will of thofe whom 
we perceive thus involuntarily alienated from . us ; 


N 1 60. T.HE RAMBLER. 121 

neither knowledge nor virtue will reconcile anti- 
pathy, and though officioufnefs may for a time be 
admitted, and diligence applauded, they will at laft 
be difmiffed with coldnefs, or difcouraged by ne- 

Some have indeed an occult power of ftealing 
upon the affections, of exciting univerfal benevo- 
lence, and difpofing every heart to fondnefs and 
friendihip. But this is a felicity granted only to the 
favourites of nature. The greater part of mankind 
find a different reception from different difpofitions ; 
they fometimes obtain unexpected careffes from thofe 
whom they never flattered with uncommon regard, 
and fometimes exhauft all their arts of pleafing 
without effect. To thefe it is neceffary to look round 
and attempt every breaft in which they find virtue 
fufficient for the foundation of friend fh ip ; to enter 
into the crowd, and try whom chance will offer to 
their notice, till they fix on fome temper congenial 
to their own, as the magnet rolled in the duft col- 
lects the fragments of its kindred metal from a thou- 
fancl particles of other fubftances. 

Every man muft have remarked the facility with, 
which the kindnefs of others is fometimes gained by 
thofe to whom he never could have imparted his own. 
We are by our occupations, education, and habits 
of life, divided almoft into different fpecies, which 
regard one another for the mod. part with fcorn and 
malignity. Each of thefe claffes of the human race 
has defires, fears, and converfation, vexations and 
merriment peculiar to itfelfj cares which another 
cannot feel ; pleafures which he cannot partake ; 
and modes of expreffmg every fenfation which he 



cannot underftand. That frolick which fhakes one 
man with laughter, will convulfe another with in- 
dignation j the drain of jocularity which in one place 
obtains treats and patronage, would in another be 
heard with indifference, and in a third with ab- 

To raife efteem we mud benefit others, to procure 
love we muft pleafe them. Ariftotle obferves, that 
old men do not readily form friendfhips, becaufe they 
are not eafily fufceptible of pleafure. He that can 
contribute to the hilarity of the vacant hour, or par- 
take with equal guft the favourite amufement, he 
\vhofe mind is employed on the fame objects, and 
who therefore never harafies the underftanding with 
unaccuftomed ideas, will be welcomed with ardour, 
and left with regret, unkfs he deftroys thofe recom- 
mendations by faults with which peace and fecurity 
cannot confift. 

It were happy, if, in forming friendfhips, virtue 
could concur with pleafure j but the greateft part of 
human gratifications approach fo nearly to vice, 
that few who make the delight of others their rule of 
conduct, can avoid difingenuous compliances ; yet 
certainly he that fuffers himfelf to be driven or allured 
from virtue, miflakes his own intereft, fince he gains 
fuccour by means, for which his friend, if ever he 
becomes wife, muft fcorn him, and for which at laft 
be muft fcorn himfelf. 

N'i6i. THE RAMBLER. 123 

NUMB. 161. TUESDAY, Oftober i, 1751. 

Frail as the leaves that quiver on the fprays, 
Like them man flourilhes> like them decays. 


YO U have formerly obferved that curiofity often 
terminates in barren knowledge, and that the 
mind is prompted to fludy and enquiry rather by the 
imeafmefs of ignorance, than the hope of profit. 
Nothing can be of lefs importance to any prefent in- 
tereft than the fortune of thofe who have been long 
loft in the grave, and from whom nothing now can 
be hoped or feared. Yet to roufe the zeal of a true 
antiquary, little more is necefiary than to mention a 
name which mankind have confpired to forget ; he 
will make his way to remote fcenes of action through 
obfcurity and contradiction, as Tully fought amidft 
bufhes and brambles the tomb of Archimedes. 

It is not eafy to difcover how it concerns him 
that gathers the produce, or receives the rent of an 
eftate, to know through what families the land has 
paffed, who is regiftered in the Conqueror's furvey 
as its poflefibr, how often it has been forfeited by 
treafon, or how often fold by prodigality. The 
power or wealth of the prefent inhabitants of a 
country cannot be much increafed by an enquiry 


124 THE RAMBLER. N' i6r. 

after the names of thofe barbarians, who deftroyed 
one another twenty centuries ago, in contefts for the 
fhelter of woods or convenience of pafturage. Yet 
we fee that no man can be at reft in the enjoyment of 
a new purchafe till he has learned the hiftory of his 
grounds from the ancient inhabitants of the parifh, 
and that no nation omits to record the actions of their 
anceftors, however bloody, favage, and rapacious. 

The fame difpofition, as different opportunities call 
it forth, difcovers itfelf in great or little things. I 
have always thought it unworthy of a wife man to 
(lumber in total inactivity, only becaufe he happens 
to have no employment equal to his ambition or ge- 
nius $ it is therefore my cuftom to apply my attention 
to the objects before me, and as 1 cannot think any 
place wholly unworthy of notice that affords a habita- 
tion to a man of letters, I have collected the hiftory 
and antiquities of the feveral garrets in which I have 

eftis, -bos ego magna vdco-. 
How fmall to others, but how great to me ! 

Many of thefe narratives my induftry has been able 
to extend to a confiderable length ; but the woman 
with whom I now lodge has lived only eighteen 
months in the houfe, and can give no account of its 
ancient revolutions j the plaifterer having, at her en- 
trance, obliterated, by his white- wafli, all the fmoky 
memorials which former tenants had left upon the 
ceiling, and perhaps drawn the veil of oblivion over 
politicians, philofophers, and poets. 


N'i6r. THE RAMBLER, 125 

When I firft cheapened my lodgings, the landlady 
told me, that fhe hoped I was not an author, for the 
lodgers on the firft floor had ftipulated that the upper 
rooms fhould not be occupied by a noify trade. I 
very readily promifed to give no difturbance to her 
family, and foon difpatched a bargain on the ufual 

I had not flept many nights in my new apartment 
before 1 began to enquire after my predeceffors, and 
found my landlady, whofe imagination is filled 
chiefly with her own affairs, very ready to give 
me information. 

Curiofity, like all other defires, produces pain as 
well as pleafure. Before fhe began her narrative, I 
had heated my head with expectations of adventures 
and difcoveries, of elegance in difguife, and learning 
in diftrefs ; and was fomewhat mortified when I heard 
that the firft tenant was a tailor, of whom nothing was 
remembered but that he complained of his room for 
want of light; and, after having lodged in it a 
month, and paid only a week's rent, pawned a piece 
of cloth which he was trufted to cut out, and was 
forced to make a precipitate retreat from this quarter 
of the town. 

The next was a young woman newly arrived 
from the country, who lived for five weeks with 
great regularity, and became by frequent treats, 
very much the favourite of the family, but at laft 
received vifits fo frequently from a coufin in Cheap-* 
Jide, that (he brought the reputation of the houfe 
into danger, and was therefore difmuTed with good 


126 THE RAMBLER. Ni6i. 

The room then flood empty for a fortnight ; my 
landlady began to think that fhe had judged hardly, 
and often wifhed for fuch another lodger. At laft an 
elderly man of a grave afpect read the bill, and bar- 
gained for the room at the very firft price that was 
afked. He lived in clofe retirement, feldom went 
out till evening, and then returned early, fometimes 
cheerful, and at other times dejected. It was re- 
markable, that whatever he purchafed, he never had 
fmall money in his pocket, and though cool and tem- 
perate on other occafions, was always vehement and 
flormy till he received his change. He paid his rent 
with great exactnefs, and feldom failed once a week 
to requite my landlady's civility with a fupper. At 
laft, fuch is the fate of human felicity, the houfe was 
alarmed at midnight by the conftable, who demanded 
tofearch the garrets. My landlady affuring him that 
he had miftaken the door, conducted him up (lairs, 
where he found the tools of a coiner ; but the tenant 
had crawled along the roof to an empty houfe, and 
cfcaped ; much to the joy of my landlady, who de- 
clares him a very honeft man, and wonders why any 
body fhould be hanged for making money when fuch 
numbers are in want of it. She however confeMes 
that fhe fhall for the future always queflion the cha- 
racter of thofe who take her garret without beating 
down the price. 

The bill was then placed again in the window, 
and the poor woman was teazed for feven weeks by 
innumerable paflengers, who obliged her to climb 
with them every hour up five ftories, and then dif- 
liked the profpect, hated thenoife of a publick flreet, 
thought the (lairs narrow, objected to a low ceil- 

Ki6i. THE RAMBLER. 127 

ing, required the walls to be hung with frefher paper, 
afked queftions about the neighbourhood, could not 
think of living To far from their acquaintance, wifhed 
the windows had looked to the fouth rather than the 
weft, told how the door and chimney might have 
been better difpofed, bid her half the price that (he 
afked, or promifed to give her earneft the next day, 
and came no more. 

At laft, a fhort meagre man, in a tarnifhed waift- 
coat, defired to fee the garret, and when he had fti- 
pulated for two long fhelves, and a larger table, hired 
it at a low rate. When the affair was completed, lie 
looked round him with great fatisfaction, and repeated 
fome words which the woman did not underftand. In 
two days he brought a great box of books, took pof- 
feffion of his room, and lived very inoffenfively, ex- 
cept that he frequently difturbed the inhabitants of the 
next floor by unfeafonable noifes. He was generally 
in bed at noon, but from evening to midnight he 
Sometimes talked aloud with great vehemence, fome- 
times (lamped as in rage, fometimes threw down his 
poker, then clattered his chairs, then fat down ih 
deep thought, and again burft out into loud vocife- 
rations ; fometimes he would figh as opprefied with 
mifery, and fometimes fliake with convulfive laugh- 
ter. When he encountered any of the family, he 
gave way or bowed, but rarely fpoke, except that as 
he went up ftairs he often repeated, 

This habitant th' aerial regions boaft, 


jig THE RAMBLER. N 161. 

hard words, to which his neighbours liftened fo often, 
that they learned them without understanding them. 
What was his employment fhe did not venture to afk 
him, but at laft heard a printer's boy enquire for the 

My landlady was very often advifed to beware of 
this ftrange man, who, though he was quiet for 
the prefent, might perhaps become outrageous in the 
hot months ; but as Ihe was punctually paid, fhe 
could not find any fufficient reafon for difmiffing him, 
till one night he convinced her, by fetcing fire to his 
curtains, that it was not fafe to have an author for her 

She had then for fix weeks a fucceffion of tenants, 
who left the houfe on Saturday, and inftead of paying 
their rent, ftormed at their landlady. At laft fhe 
took in two fillers, one of whom had fpent her little 
fortune in procuring remedies for a lingering difeafe, 
and was now fupported and attended by the other : 
fhe climbed with difficulty to the apartment, where 
fhe languifhed eight weeks without impatience, or 
lamentation, except for the expence and fatigue 
which her fifter fuffered, and then calmly and con- 
tentedly expired. The fifter followed her to the 
grave, paid the few debts which they had contracted, 
wiped away the tears of ufelefs forrow, and returning 
to the bufinefs of common life, refigned to me the 
vacant habitation. 

Such, Mr. Rambler, are the changes which have 
happened in the narrow fpace where my prefent 
fortune has fixed my refidence. So true it is that 
amufement and inftruction are always at hand for 


N'i62. THE RAMBLER. 129 

thofe who have fkill and willingnefs to find them 5 
and fo juft is the obfervation of Juvenal, that a 
fingle houfe will fhew whatever is done or fuffered in 
she world. 

I am, S I R, &c. 

NUMB. 162. TUESDAY, Otfobcr 5, 1751. 

Qrlus es, & locuples, & Bruto confide natus, 

Ejfe tiki veras credis amicitias ? 
Sunt werte ; fed quas Ju--venis, quas pauper habeba.s y 

^uis novus eft t mortem diligit ille tuam. MART. 

What ! old, and rich, and childlefs too, 

And yet believe your friends are true ? 

Truth might perhaps to thofe belong, 

To thofe who lov'd you poor and young ; 

But, truft me, for the new you have, 

They'll love you dearly in your grave. F. LEWIS. 

ON E of the complaints uttered by Milton\ 
Samfon, in the anguifh of blindnefs, is, that 
he fliall pafs his life under the direction of others; 
that he cannot regulate his conduct by his own 
knowledge, but muft lie at the mercy of thofe who 
undertake to guide him. 

There is no ilate more contrary to the dignity of 
wifdom than perpetual and unlimited dependance, 
in which the underftanding lies ufelefs, and every 
motion is received from external impulfe. Reafon 
is the great diftinction of human nature, the faculty 
by which we approach to fome degree of afTociation 

VOL. VI. K with 

130 THE RAMBLER. N 162. 

with celeftial intelligences ; but as the excellence of 
every power appears only in its operations, not to 
have reafon, and to have it ufekfs and unemployed, 
is nearly the fame. 

Such is the weaknefs of man, that the effence of 
things is feldom fo much regarded as external and 
accidental appendages. A fmall variation of trifling 
circumftances, a flight change of form by an artificial 
drefs, or a cafual difference of appearance, by a new 
light and fituation, will conciliate affection or excite 
abhorrence, and determine us to purfue or to avoid. 
Every man confiders a neceffity of compliance with 
any will but his own, as the loweft date of ignominy 
and meannefs ; few are fo far loft in cowardice or 
negligence, as not to roufe at the firft infult of ty- 
ranny, and exert all their force againft him who 
ufurps their property, or invades any privilege of 
fpeech or action. Yet we fee often thofe who never 
wanted fpirit to repel encroachment or oppofe vio- 
lence, at laft, by a gradual relaxation of vigilance, 
delivering up, without capitulation, the fortrefs which 
they defended againft affault, and laying down un- 
bidden the weapons which they grafped the harder 
for every attempt to wreft them from their hands, 
Men eminent for fpirit and wifdom often refign 
themfelVes to voluntary pupilage, and fuffer their lives 
to be modelled by officious ignorance, and their 
choice to be regulated by prefumptuous ftupidity. 

This unrefifting acquiescence in the determination 
of others, may be the confequence of application to 
fome ftudy remote from the beaten track of life, fome 
employment which does not allow leifure for fuffi- 
cient infpedlion of thofe petty affairs, by which na- 
3 ture 

N 162. THE RAMBLER. 131 

ture has decreed a great part of our duration to be 
filled. To a mind thus withdrawn from common 
objects, it is more eligible to repofe on the prudence 
of another, than to be expofed every moment to flight 
interruptions. The fubmiffion which fuch confi- 
dence requires, is paid without pain, becaufe it im- 
plies no confeffion of inferiority. The bufinefs from 
which we withdraw our cognizance, is not above our 
abilities, but below our notice. We pleafe our pride 
with the effects of our influence thus weakly exerted, 
and fancy ourfelves placed in a higher orb, from 
which we regulate fubordinate agents by a flight and 
diftant fuperfntendence. But whatever vanity or ab- 
ftraction may fuggeft, no man can fafely do that by 
others which might be done by himfelf ; he that in- 
dulges negligence will quickly become ignorant of 
his own affairs ; and he that trulls without referve 
will at laft be deceived. 

It is however impoflible but that, as the attention 
tends ftrongly towards one thing, it mufl retire from 
another j and he that omits the care of domeftick 
bufinefs, becaufe he is engrofTed by enquiries of more 
importance to mankind, has at leaf! the merit of fuf- 
fering in a good caufe. But there are many who can 
plead no fuch extenuation of their folly ; who (hake 
off the burthen of their ftation, not that they may 
foar with lefs incumbrance to the heights of know- 
ledge or virtue, but- that they may loiter at cafe and 
deep in quiet ; and who felect for friendship and con- 
fidence not the faithful and the virtuous, but the foft, 
the civil, and compliant. 

This opennefs to flattery is the common difgracd 

of declining life. When men feel weaknefs increaf- 

K 2 ing 

132 THE RAMBLER. N 162. 

ing on them, they naturally defire to reft from the 
ftruggles of contradiction, the fatigue of reafoning, 
the anxiety of circumfpection ; when they are hourly 
tormented with pains and difeafes, they are unable 
to bear any new difturbance, and confider all oppo- 
fition as an addition to mifery, of which they feel al- 
ready more than they can patiently endure. Thus 
defirous of peace, and thus fearful of pain, the old 
man feldom enquires after any other qualities in thofe 
whom he carefies, than quicknefs in conjecturing his 
defires, activity in fupplying his wants, dexterity in 
intercepting complaints before they approach near 
enough to difturb him, flexibility to his prefent hu- 
mour, fubmiffion to hafty petulance, and attention 
to wearifome narrations. By thefe arts alone many 
have been able to defeat the claims of kindred and of 
merit, and to enrich themfelves with prefents and le- 

Thrafybulus inherited a large fortune, and aug- 
mented it by the revenues of feveral lucrative em- 
ployments, which he difcharged with honour and 
dexterity. He was at laft wife enough to confider, 
that life fhould not be devoted wholly to accumula- 
tion, and therefore retiring to his eftate, applied him- 
felf to the education of his children, and the cultiva- 
tion of domeftick happinefs. 

He patted feveral years in this pleafing amufement, 
and faw his care amply recompenfed ; his daughters 
were celebrated for modefty and elegance, and his 
fons for learning, prudence, and fpirit. In time the 
eagernefs with which the neighbouring gentlemen 
courted his alliance^ obliged him to refign his daugh- 
ters to other families ; the vivacity and curiofity of 


Ni62. THE RAMBLER. 133 

his fons hurried them out of rural privacy into the 
open world, from whence they had not foon an incli- 
nation to return. This however he had always 
hoped ; he pleafed himfelf with the fuccefs of his 
fchemes, and felt no inconvenience from folitude till 
an apoplexy deprived him of his wife. 

Thrafybulus had now no companion ; and the ma- 
ladies of increafing years having taken from him 
much of the power of procuring amufement for him- 
felf, he thought it neceffary to procure fome inferior 
friend who might eafe him of his economical folici- 
tudes, and divert him by cheerful converfation. All 
thefe qualities he foon recollected in Vafer> a clerk in 
one of the offices over which he had formerly prefided. 
Vafer was invited to vifit his old patron, and being 
by his ftation acquainted with the prefent modes of 
life, and by conftant practice dextrous in bufinefs, 
entertained him with fo many novelties, and fo rea- 
dily difcntangled his affairs, that he was defired to 
refign his clerkfhip, and accept a liberal falary in the 
houfe of < Thrafybulus. 

Vafer having always lived in a flate of depend- 
ance, was well verfed in the arts by which favour 
is obtained, and could without repugnance or hefita- 
tion accommodate himfelf to every caprice, and echo 
every opinion. He never doubted but to be con- 
vinced, nor attempted oppofition but to flatter Thra- 
Jybulus with the pleafure of a victory. By this practice 
he found his way into his patron's heart, and having 
firft made himfelf agreeable, foon became important. 
His infidious diligence, by which the lazinefs of age 
was gratified, engroffed the management of affairs j 
and his petty offices of civility, and occafional inter- 
K 3 ceffions, 

134 THE RAMBLER. N* 162. 

ceffions, perfuaded the tenants to confider him as 
their friend and benefador, and to entreat his en- 
forcement of their reprefentations of hard years, and 
his countenance to petitions for abatement of rent. 

Tbrafybulus had now banquetted on flattery, till he 
could no longer bear the harfhnefs of rernonftrance, 
or the infipidity of truth. All contrariety to his own 
opinion fhocked him like a violation of fome natural 
right, and all recommendation of his affairs to his 
own infpe&ion was dreaded by him as a fummons to 
torture. His children were alarmed by the fudden 
riches of Vafer, but their complaints were heard by 
their father with impatience, as the refult of a con- 
fpiracy againft his quiet, and a defign to condemn 
him, for their own advantage, to groan out his laft 
hours in perplexity and drudgery. The daughters 
retired with tears in their eyes, but the fon continued 
his importunities till he found his inheritance ha- 
zarded by his obftinacy. Vafer triumphed over all 
their efforts, and continuing to confirm himfelf in 
authority, at the death of his mailer purchafed an 
eftate, and bade defiance to inquiry and juftice. 

Ni63- THE RAMBLER. 135 

NrjMB. 163. TUESDAY, Qttoler 8, 1751. 

Mittefuperba pali faftidia,fpetnque caducam 

Defuice ; v:ve tiki, nam moriere tibi. SENECA. 

Bow to no patron's infolence ; rely 

On no frail hopes, in freedom live and die. F. LEWIS. 

NO N E of the cruelties exercifed by wealth and 
power upon indigence and dependance is more 
mifchievous in its confequences, or more frequently 
practifed with wanton negligence, than the encou- 
ragement of expectations which are never to be gra- 
tified, and the elation and depreflion of the heart by 
needlefs viciflitudes of hope and difappointment. 

Every man is rich or poor, according to the pro- 
portion between his defires and enjoyments ; any en- 
largement of wifhes is therefore equally deftructive to 
happinefs with the diminution of pofTefTion, and he 
that teaches another to long for what he never fhall 
obtain, is no lefs an enemy to his quiet, than if he 
had robbed him of part of his patrimony. 

But reprefentations thus refined exhibit no ade- 
quate idea of the guilt of pretended friendfhip; of 
artifices by which followers are attracted only to de- 
corate the retinue of pomp, and fwell the fhout of 
popularity, and to be difmirTed with contempt and 
ignominy, when their leader has fucceeded or mif- 
carried, when he is fick of fhow, and weary of noife. 
While a man, infatuated with the promifes of great- 
nefs, waftes his hours and days in attendance and fo- 

K 4 licitation, 


licitation, the honeft opportunities of improving his 
condition pafs by without his notice ; he neglects to 
cultivate his own barren foil, becaufe he expe&s 
every moment to be placed in regions of fpon- 
taneous fertility, and is feldom roufed from his de- 
lufion, but by the gripe of diftrefs which he cannot 
refift, and the fenfe of evils which cannot be re- 

The punifhmentof 'Tantalus in the infernal regions 
affords ajuft image of hungry fervility, flattered with 
the approach of advantage, doomed to lofe it before 
it comes into his reach, always within a few days 
of felicity, and always finking back to his former 

% xv-^/ii o yigut -anim p.ina. 
w a%ohetrxiT owstgoxfii' ct 
ok (Aehu.wot ('xt' xcnct^votyxe of 

2uxi TE yXtixsgaJ, xj tXai 
Tun QTS'VT I&VCTH o ytguv 'ml 
T's F 

te I faw," fays Homer's Ulyjfes, " the fevere punifh- 
<f ment of Tantalus. In a lake whofe waters ap- 
<c proached to his lips, he flood burning with thirft", 
ct without the power to drink. Whenever he in- 
<e clined his head to the ftream, fome deity com- 
" manded it to be dry, and the dark earth appeared 
" at his feet. Around him lofty trees fpread their 
" fruits to view; the pear, the pomegranate, and 

" the 

Ni63. THE RAMBLER. 137 

ct the apple, the green olive, and the lufcious fig 
" quivered before him, which, whenever he extended 
" his hand to feize them, were fnatched by the winds 
* c into clouds and obfcurity." 

This image of mifery was perhaps originally fug- 
gefted to ibme poet by the conduct of his patron, by 
the daily contemplation of fplendor which he never 
muft partake, by fruitlefs attempts to catch at inter- 
dicted happinefs, and by the fudden evanefcence of 
his reward, when he thought his labours almoft at an 
end. To groan with poverty, when all about him 
was opulence, riot, and fuperfluity, and to find the 
favours which he had long been encouraged to hope, 
and had long endeavoured to deferve, fquandered at 
laft on namelefs ignorance, was to thirft with water 
flowing before him, and to fee the fruits to which his 
hunger was haftening, fcattered by the wind. Nor 
can my correfpondent, whatever he may have fuf- 
fered, exprefs with more juftnefs or force the vexa- 
tions of dependance. 

To the RAMBLER. 

S I R, 

T A M one of thofe mortals who have been courted 
and envied as the favourites of the. great. Hav- 
ing often gained the prize of compofition at the uni- 
verfity, I began to hope that I Ihould obtain the fame 
diftinclion in every other place, and determined to 
forfake the profeffion to which I was deftined by my 
parents, and in which the intereft of my family would 
have procured me a very advantageous fettlement. 



The pride of wit fluttered in my heart, and when I 
prepared to leave the college, nothing entered my 
imagination but honours, careffes, and rewards, riches 
without labour, and luxury without expence. 

I however delayed my departure for a time, to 
finifh the performance by which I was to draw the 
firil notice of mankind upon me. When it was com- 
pleted I hurried to London, and confidered every mo- 
ment that paffed before its publication, as loft in a 
kind of neutral exiftence, and cut off from the golden 
hours of happinefs and fame. The piece was at laft 
printed and difTeminated by a rapid fale ; I wandered 
from one place of concourfe to another, feafted from 
morning to night on the repetition of my own praifes, 
and enjoyed the various conjectures of criticks, the 
miftaken candour of my friends, and the impotent 
malice of my enemies. Some had read the manu- 
fcript, and rectified its inaccuracies j others had feen 
it in a ftate fo imperfect, that they could not forbear 
to wonder at its ptefent excellence j fome had con- 
verfed with the author at the coffee-houfe j and others 
gave hints that they had lent him money. 

I knew that no performance is fo favourably read 
as that of a writer who fupprefles his name, and there- 
fore refolved to remain concealed, till thofe by whom 
literary reputation is eftablifhed had given their fuf- 
frages too publickly to retract them. At length my 
bookfeller informed me that Aurantms^ the ftanding 
patron of merit, had fent enquiries after me, and 
invited me to his acquaintance. 

The time which I had long expecled was now ar- 
rived. I went to Aurantius with a beating heart, for 
I looked upon our interview as the critical moment of 


Ni63- THE RAMBLER. 139 

my deftiny. I was received with civilities, which my 
academick rudenefs made me unable to repay ; but 
when I had recovered from my confufion, I profe- 
cuted the converfation with fuch livelinefs and pro- 
priety, that I confirmed my new friend in his efteem 
of my abilities, and was difmifTed with the utmoft 
ardour of profefiion, and raptures of fondnefs. 

I was foon fummoned to dine with Aurantius, who 
had afiembied the moft judicious of his friends to 
partake of the entertainment. Again I exerted my 
powers of fentiment and exprefiion, and again found 
every eye fparkling with delight, and every tongue 
filent with attention. I now became familiar at the 
table of Aurantius, but could never, in his moft pri- 
vate or jocund hours, obtain more from him than 
general declarations of eileem, or endearments of 
tendernefs, which included no particular promife, 
and therefore conferred no claim. This frigid re- 
ferve fomewhat difgufled me, and when he com- 
plained of three days abfence, I took care to inform 
him with how much importunity of kindnefs I had 
been detained by his rival Pollio. 

Aurantius now confidered his honour as endangered 
by the defertion of a wit, and left 1 fhould have an 
inclination to wander, told me that I could never 
find a friend more conftant and zealous than himfelf j 
that indeed he had made no promifes, becaufe he 
hoped to furprife me with advancement, but had 
been filently promoting my intereft, and Ihould con- 
tinue his good offices, unlefs he found the kindnefs 
of others more defired. 

If you, Mr. Rambler, have ever ventured your phi- 
lofophy within the attraction of greatnefs, you know 


i 4 o THE RAMBLER. N 163. 

the force of fuch language introduced with a fmile 
of gracious tendernefs, and imprefied at the conclu- 
fion with an air of folemn fmcerity. From that in- 
ftant I gave myfelf up wholly to Aurantius, and as he 
immediately refumed his former gaiety, expected 
every morning a fummons to fome employment 
of dignity and profit. One month fucceeded ano- 
ther, and in defiance of appearances I flill fancied 
myfelf nearer to my wifhes, and continued to dream 
of fuccefs, and wake to difappointment. At laft the 
failure of my little fortune compelled me to abate 
the finery which I hitherto thought necefTary to the 
company with whom I aflbciated, and the rank to 
which I Ihould be raifed. Aurantius, from the mo- 
ment in which he difcovered my poverty, confider- 
ed me as fully in his power, and afterwards rather 
permitted my attendance than invited it; thought 
himfelf at liberty to refufe my vifits, whenever he 
had other amufements within reach, and often fuf- 
fered me to wait, without pretending any necefTary 
bufmefs. When I was admitted to his table, if any 
man of rank equal to his own was prefent, he took 
occafion to mention my writings, and commend my 
ingenuity, by which he intended to apologize for the 
confufion of distinctions, and the improper aflbrtment 
of his company ; and often called upon me to enter- 
tain his friends with my productions, as a fportfman 
delights the fquires of his neighbourhood with the 
curvets of his horfe, or the obedience of his fpaniels. 
To complete my mortification, it was his practice 
to impofe tafks upon me, by requiring me to write 
upon fuch fubjects as he thought fufceptible of orna- 
ment and illuftration. With thefe extorted perform- 

N 163. THE RAMBLER. 141 

ances he was little fatisfied, becaufe he rarely found 
in them the ideas which his own imagination had 
fuggefted, and which he therefore thought more na- 
tural than mine. 

When the pale of ceremony is broken, rudenefs 
and infult foon enter the breach. He now found 
that he might fafely harafs me with vexation, that 
he had fixed the fhackles of patronage upon me, and 
that I could neither refift him nor efcape. At lafb, 
in the eighth year of my fervitude, when the clamour 
of creditors was vehement, and my neceffity known, 
to be extreme, he offered me a fmall office, but hint- 
ed his expectation that I fhould marry a young wo- 
man with whom he had been acquainted. 

I was not fo far deprefTed by my calamities as to 
comply with his propofal ; but knowing that com- 
plaints and expoftulations would not gratify his in- 
folence, I turned away with that contempt with 
which I fhall never want fpirit to treat the wretch 
who can outgo the guilt of a robber without the 
temptation of his profit, and who lures the credu- 
lous and thoughtlefs to maintain the fhow of his 
levee, and the mirth of his table, at the expence of 
honour, happinefs, and life. 

I am, SIR, &c. 


i 4 a THE RAMBLER. N 164. 

NUMB. 164. SATURDAY, O&ober 12, 1751. 

Gaure, Catonii babes. MART* 

Gaurus pretends to Cato's fame ; 

And proves by Ca/o's vice, his claim. 

DISTINCTION is fo pleafmg to the pride 
of man, that a great part of the pain and 
pleafure of life arifes from the gratification or dif- 
appointment of an inceflant wifh for fuperiority, 
from the fuccefs or mifcarriages of fecret compe- 
titions, from victories and defeats, of which, though 
they appear to us of great importance, in reality 
none are confcious except ourfelves. 

Proportionate to the prevalence of this love of 
praife is the variety of means by which its attain- 
ment is attempted. Every man, however hopelefs 
his pretenfions may appear to all but himfelf, has 
fome projeft by which he hopes to rife to reputa- 
tion ; fome art by which he imagines that the notice 
of the world will be attracted ; fome quality, good 
or bad, which difcriminates him from the common 
herd of mortals, and by which others may be per- 
fuaded to love, or compelled to fear him. The 
afcents of honour, however fteep, never appear in- 
acceffiblej he that defpairs to fcale the precipices 
by which learning and valour have conducted their 
favourites, difcovers fome by-path, or eafier accli- 
vity, which, though it cannot bring him to the fum- 
mit, will yet enable him to overlook thofe with whom 


N>i6 4 . THE RAMBLER. i 4J 

he is now contending for eminence ; and we feldom 
require more to the happinefs of the prefent hour, 
than to furpafs him that ftands next before us. 

As the greater part of human kind fpeak and act 
wholly by imitation, moft of thofe who afpire to 
honour and applaufe propofe to themfelves fome ex- 
ample which ferves as the model of their conduct, 
and the limit of their hopes. Almoft every man, 
if clofely examined, will be found to have enlifted 
himfelf under fome leader whom he expects to con- 
duct him to renown j to have fome hero or other, 
living or dead, in his view, whofe character he en- 
deavours to affume, and whofe performances he la- 
bours to equal, r % 

When the original is well chofen, and judicioufly 
copied, the imitator often arrives at excellence, which 
he could never have attained without direction , for 
few are formed with abilities to difcover new poQibi- 
lities of excellence, and to diftinguifh themfelves by 
means never tried before. 

But folly and idlenefs often contrive to gratify pride 
at a cheaper rate : not the qualities which are moft 
illuftrious, but thofe which are of eafieft attainment, 
are felected for imitation , and the honours and re- 
wards which publick gratitude has paid to the bene- 
factors of mankind, are expected by wretches who 
can only imitate them in their vices and defects, or 
adopt fome petty Angularities, of which thofe from 
whom they are borrowed, were fecretly afhamed. 

No man rifes to fuch a height as to become con- 
fpicuous, but he is on one fide cenfured by undif- 
cerning malice, which reproaches him for his beft 
actions, and (landers his apparent and inconteftable 


i 4 4 THE RAMBLER. N* 164, 

excellencies j and idolized on the other by ignorant 
admiration, which exalts his faults and follies into 
virtues. It may be obferved, that he by whofe inti- 
macy his acquaintances imagine themfelves digni- 
fied, generally diffufes among them his mien and his 
habits; and indeed without more vigilance than is 
generally applied to the regulation of the minuter 
parts of behaviour, it is not eafy when we converfe 
much with one whofe general character excites our 
veneration, to efcape all contagion of his peculiari- 
ties, even when we do not deliberately think them 
worthy of our notice, and when they would have 
excited laughter or difguft had they not been pro- 
tected by their alliance to nobler qualities, and acci- 
dentally conforted with knowledge or with virtue. 

The faults of a man loved or honoured, fometimes 
(leal fecretly and imperceptibly upon the wife and 
virtuous, but by injudicious fondnefs or thoughtlefs 
vanity are adopted with defign. There is fcarce 
any failing of mind or body, any error of opinion, or 
depravity of practice, which, inftead of producing 
ibame and difcontent, its natural effects, has not at 
one time or other gladdened vanity with the hopes of 
praife, and been displayed with oftentatious induftry 
by thofe who fought kindred minds among the wits 
of heroes, and could prove their relation only by 
fimilitude of deformity. 

In confequence of this perverfe ambition, every 
habit which reafon condemns may be indulged and 
avowed. When a man is upbraided with his faults, 
he may indeed be pardoned if he endeavours to run 
for fhelter to fome celebrated name; but it is not to 
be fuffered that, from the retreats to which he fled 


Ni6 4 . THE RAMBLER. 145 

from infamy, he fhoulct ifTue again with the confi- 
dence of conquefts, and call upon mankind for 
praife. Yet we fee men that wafte their patrimony 
in luxury, deftroy their health with debauchery, 
and enervate their minds with idlenefs, becaufe there 
hive been fome whom luxury never could fink 
into contempt, nor idlenefs hinder from the praife 
of genius. 

This general inclination of mankind to copy cha- 
racters in the grofs, and the force which the recom- 
mendation of illuftrious examples adds to the allure- 
ments of vice, ought to be confidered by all whofe 
character excludes them from the fhades of fecrecy, 
as incitements to fcrupulous caution and univerfal 
purity of manners. No man, however enflaved to 
his appetites, or hurried by his paffions, can, while 
he preferves his intellects unimpaired, pleafe himfeif 
with promoting the corruption of others. He whofe 
merit has enlarged his influence, would furely wiih 
to exert it for the benefit of mankind. Yet fuch 
will be the effect of his reputation, while he fuffers 
himfeif to indulge any favourite fault, that they who 
have no hope to reach his excellence will catch at his 
failings, and his virtues will be cited to juftify the 
copiers of his vices. 

It is particularly the duty of thofe who confign 
illuftrioirs names to pofterity, to take care left their 
readers be mifled by ambiguous examples. That 
writer may be juftly condemned as an enemy to 
goodnefs, who fufFers fondnefs or intereft to confound 
right with wrong, or to fhelter the faults which even 
the wifeft and the beft have committed from that 
ignominy which guilt ought, always to fuffer, and 
VOL. VI. L with 

146 THE RAMBLER. N 16$. 

with which it fhould be more deeply ftigmatized 
when dignified by its neighbourhood to uncommon 
worth, fmce we fhall be in danger of beholding it 
without abhorrence, unlefs its turpitude be laid open, 
and the eye fecured from the deception of furround- 
ing fplendour. 

NUMB. 165. TUESDAY, Oftober 15, 1751. 

"H* vtof ) aATuss 7r/PK{ ; vvv yr^uv, 7r>.aj-sj sffju* 

T(/T6 /Jil' 

y <$vva.iou t T&T e. ANTIPH1LUS. 

Young was I once and poor, now rich and old ; 

A harder cafe than mine was never told ; 

Bleil with the pow'r to life them I had none; 

Loaded with riches now, the pow'r is gone. F. LEWIS. 

To the RAMBLER. 


TH E writers who have undertaken the unpro- 
mifing tafk of moderating defire, exert all the 
power of their eloquence to fhew that happinefs is 
not the lot of man, and have by many arguments 
and examples proved the inftability of every condi. 
tion by which envy or ambition are excited. They 
have fet before our eyes all the calamities to which 
we are expofed from the frailty of nature, the influ- 
ence of accident, or the ftratagems of malice ; they 
have terrified greatnefs with confpiracies, and riches 


N 165. THE- RAMBLER. 147 

with anxieties, wit with criticifm, and beauty with 

All the force of reafon, and all the charms of lan- 
guage, are indeed necefTary to fupport poficions which 
every man hears with a wifh to confute them. Truth 
finds an eafy entrance into the mind when (he is in- 
troduced by defire, and attended by pleafurej but 
when (he intrudes uncalled, and brings only fear and 
forrow in her train, the paflfcs of the intellect are 
barred againft her by prejudice and pafiion; if fhe 
fometimes forces her way by the batteries of argu- 
ment, fhe feldom long keeps pofleffion of her con- 
quefts, but is ejected by fome favoured enemy, or at 
beft obtains only a nominal fovereignty, without in- 
fluence and without authority. 

That life is fhort we are all convinced, and yet 
fuffer not that conviction to reprefs our projects or 
limit our expectations j that life is miferable we all 
feel, and yet we believe that the time is near when, 
we (hall feel it no longer. But to hope happinefs 
and immortality is equally vain. Our ftate may in- 
deed be more or lefs embittered, as our duration may 
be more or lefs contracted; yet the titmoft felicity 
which we can ever attain will be little better than al- 
leviation of mifery, and we fhall always feel more 
pain from our wants than pleafure from our enjoy- 
ments. The incident which I am going to relate 
will (hew, that to deftroy the effect of all our fuc- 
cefs, it is not neceffary that any fignal calamity 
fhould fall upon us, that we fhould be harafled by 
implacable perfecution, or excruciated by irremedi- 
able pains 3 the brighten; hours of profperity have 

L 2 their 

I 4 8 THE RAMBLER. N r6$. 

their clouds, and the ftream of life, if it is not ruffled 
by obftru&ions, will grow putrid by ftagnation. 

My father refolving not to imitate the folly of his 
anceftors, who had hitherto left the younger fons 
encumbrances on the eldeft, deftined me to a lucra- 
tive profeflionj and I being careful to lofe no oppor- 
tunity of improvement, was, at the ufual time in 
which young men enter the world, well qualified 
for the exercife of the bufmefs which I had chofen. 

My eagernefs to diftinguilh myfelf in publick, and 
my impatience of the narrow fcheme of life to which 
my indigence confined me, did not fuffer me to con- 
tinue long in the town where I was born. I went 
away as from a place of confinement, with a refolu- 
tion to return no more, till I fhould be able to dazzle 
with my fplendour thofe who now looked upon me 
with contempt, to reward thofe who had paid ho- 
nours to my dawning merit, and to fhow all who had 
fuflfered me to glide by them unknown and neglefted, 
how much they miftook their intereft in omitting to 
propitiate a genius like mine. 

Such were my intentions when I fallted forth into 
the unknown world, in queft of riches and honours, 
which I expected to procure in a very fhort time; 
for what could withhold them from induftry and 
knowledge ? He that indulges hope will always be 
difappointed. Reputation I very foon obtained; 
but as merit is much more cheaply acknowledged 
than rewarded, I did not find myfelf yet enriched in 
proportion to my celebrity. 

I had however in time furmounted the obftacles 
by which envy and competition obftrud the firft at- 

N 165. THE RAMBLER. 149 

tempts of a new claimant, and faw my opponents 
and cenfurers tacitly confeffing their defpair of fuc- 
cefs, by courting my friendihip and yielding to my 
influence. They who once purfued me, were now 
fatisfied to efcape from me; and they who had before 
thought me prefumptuous in hoping to overtake 
them, had now their utmoft wiih, if they were 
permitted at no great diftance quietly to follow 

My wants were not madly multiplied as my ac- 
quifitions increafed, and the time came at length, 
when I thought myfelf enabled to gratify all reafon- 
able defires, and when, therefore, I refolved to enjoy 
that plenty and ferenity which I had been hitherto 
labouring to procure, to enjoy them while I was yet 
neither crulhed by age into infirmity, nor fo habitu- 
ated to a particular manner of life as to be unquali- 
fied for new ftudies or entertainments. 

I now quitted my profeffion, and to fet myfelf at 
once free from all importunities to refume it, changed 
my refidence, and devoted the remaining part of my 
time to quiet and amufement. Amidft innumerable 
projects of pleafure which reftlefs idlenefs incited me 
to form, and of which moft, when they came to the 
moment of execution, were rejected for others of nq 
longer continuance, fome accident revived in my 
imagination the pleafing ideas of my native place. 
It was now in my power to vifit thofe from whom I 
had been fo long abfent, in fuch a manner as was 
confident with my former refolution, and I wondered 
how it could happen that I had fo long delayed my 
own happinefs. 

L 3 FuU 

150 THE RAMBLER. N 165, 

Full of the admiration which I fhould excite, and 
the homage which I fhould receive, I drefied my 
fervants in a more oftentatious livery, purchafed a 
magnificent chariot, and refolved to dazzle the in- 
habitants of the little town with an unexpected blaze 
of greatnefs. 

While the preparations that vanity required were 
made for my departure, which, as workmen will not 
eafily be hurried beyond their ordinary rate, I thought 
very tedious, I folaced my impatience with imaging 
the various cenfures that my appearance would pro- 
duce, the hopes which fome would feel from my 
bounty, the terror which my power would ftrike 
on others ; the awkward refpecl: with which I fhould 
be accofted by timorous officioufnefs ; and the diftant 
reverence with which others, lefs familiar to fplen- 
dour and dignity, would be contented to gaze upon 
me. I deliberated a long time, whether I fhould im- 
mediately defcend to a level with my former acquaint- 
ances, or make my condefcenfion more grateful by 
a gentle tranfition from haughtinefs and referve. At 
length I determined to forget fome of my compa- 
nions, till they difcovered themfelves by fome indu- 
bitable token, and to receive the congratulations of 
others upon my good fortune with indifference, to 
fhow that I always expected what I had now ob- 
tained. The acclamations of the populace I pur- 
pofed to reward with fix hogfheads of ale, and a roaft- 
ed ox, and then recommend to them to return to their 

At laft all the trappings of grandeur were fitted, 
and I began the journey of triumph, which I could 



have wifhed to have ended in the fame moment ; but 
my horfes felt none of their matter's ardour, and I 
was fhaken four days upon rugged roads, I then 
entered the town, and having gracioufly let fall the 
glafles, that my perfon might be feen, pafied flowly 
through the ftreet. The noife of the wheels brought 
the inhabitants to their doors, but I could not per- 
ceive that I was known by them. At laft I alighted, 
and my name, I fuppofe, was told by my fervants, 
for the barber ftept from the oppofite houfe, and 
feized me by the hand with honeft joy in his counte- 
nance, which, according to the rule that I had pre- 
fcribed to myfelf, I repreffed with a frigid graciouf- 
nefs. The fellow, inftead of finking into dejection, 
turned away with contempt, and left me to confider 
how the fecond falutation fliould be received. The 
next friend was better treated, for I foon found that I 
muft purchafe by civility that regard which I had ex- 
pected to enforce by infolence. 

There was yet no fmoke of bonfires, no harmony 
of bells, no Ihout of crowds, nor riot of joy ; the bu- 
finefs of the day went forward as before ; and after 
having ordered a fplendid fupper, which no man 
came to partake, and which my chagrin hindered 
me from tafting, I went to bed, where the vexation 
of difappointment overpowered the fatigue of my 
journey, and kept me from fleep. 

I rofe fo much humbled by thole mortifications, as 
to inquire after the prefent ftate of the town, and 
found that I had been abfent too long to obtain the 
triumph which had flattered my expectation. Of 
the friends whofe compliments I expected, fome had 
long ago moved to diftant provinces, fome had loft 
L 4 in 

152 THE RAMBLER. N 165. 

in the maladies of age all fenfe of another's profpe- 
rity, and fome had forgotten our former intimacy 
amidfl care and diftreffes. Of three whom I had re- 
folved to punifh for their former offences by a longer 
continuance of neglect, one was, by his own induftry, 
raifed above my fcorn, and two were flickered from 
it in the grave. All thofe whom I loved, feared, or 
hated, all whofe envy or whofe kindnefs I had hopes 
of contemplating with pleafure, were fwept away, 
and their place was filled by a new generation with 
other views and other competitions j and among many 
proofs of the impotence of wealth, I found that it 
conferred upon me very few diftinctions in my native 

I am, S I R, &c. 


1 66. THE RAMBLER. 153 

NUMB. 166. SATURDAY, Qftoler 19, 1751. 

Pauper ens femper, Ji pauper es, JEmiliane, 

Dantur opes nullis nunc nifi divitibus. MA RT. 

Once poor, my friend, ftill poor you muft remain, 

The rich alone have all the means of gain. EDW. CAVE. 

NO complaint has been more frequently re- 
peated in all ages than that of the neglect of 
merit aflbciated with poverty, and the difficulty 
with which valuable or pleafing qualities force them- 
felves into view, when they are obfcured by indi- 
gence. It has been long obferved, that native beauty 
has little power to charm without the ornaments 
which fortune beftows, and that to want the favour 
of others is often fufficient to hinder us from obtain- 
ing it, 

Every day difcovers that mankind are not yet 
convinced of their error, or that their conviction is 
without power to influence their conduct ; for po- 
verty ftill continues to produce contempt, and {till 
obftructs the claims of kindred and of virtue. The 
eye of wealth is elevated towards higher ftations, 
and feldom defcends to examine the actions of thofe 
who are placed below the level of its notice, and who 
in diflant regions and lower fituations are rtruggling 
with diftrefs, or toiljng for bread. Among the 
multitudes overwhelmed with infuperable cala- 
mity, it is common to find thofe whom a very little 


154 THE RAMBLER, Ni6& 

afljftance would enable to fupport themfelves with 
decency, and who yet cannot obtain from near rela- 
tions what they fee hourly lavifhed in oftentation, 
luxury, or frolick. 

There are natural reafons why poverty does not 
eafily conciliate affection. He that has been con- 
fined from his infancy to the converfation of the 
loweft clafles of mankind, muft neceffarily want 
thofe accorpplifhments which are the ufual means of 
attracting favour ; and though truth, fortitude, and 
probity, give an indifputable right to reverence and 
kindnefs, they will not be diftinguifhed by common 
eyes, unlefs they are brightened by elegance of man- 
ners, but are cafl afide like unpolifhed gems, of which 
none but the artift knows the intrinfick value, till 
their afperities are fmoothed and their incruftations 
rubbed away. 

The groflhefs of vulgar habits obftructs the effi- 
cacy of virtue, as impurity and harlhnefs of ilyle 
impair the force of reafon, and rugged numbers 
turn off the mind from artifi.ce of difpofition, and 
fertility of invention. Few have ftrength of reafon 
to over-rule the perceptions of fenfe ; and yet fewer 
have curiofity or benevolence to ftruggle long againft 
the firft impreffion : he therefore who fails to pleafe 
in his falutation and addrefs, is at once rejected, and 
never obtains an opportunity of fhowing his latent 
excellencies, or eflential qualities. 

It is indeed not eafy to prefcribe a fuccefsful man- 
ner of approach to the dillrefled or necefiitous, whofe 
condition fubjects every kind of behaviour equally to 
mifcarriage. He whpfe confidence of merit incites 
him to meet without any apparent fenfe of inferiority, 


N'i66. THE RAMBLER. 155 

the eyes of thofe who flattered themfelves with their 
own dignity, is confidered as an infolenc leveller, 
impatient of the juft prerogatives of rank and wealth, 
eager to ufurp the ftation to which he has no right, 
and to confound the fubordinations of fociety ; and 
who would contribute to the exaltation of that fpirit 
which even want and calamity are not able to reflrain 
from rudenefs and rebellion. 

But no better fuccefs will commonly be found to 
attend fervility and dejection, which often give pride 
the confidence to treat them with contempt. A re- 
queft made with diffidence and timidity is eafily 
denied, becaufe the petitioner himfelf feems to doubt 
its fitnefs. 

Kindnefs is generally reciprocal; we are defirous 
of pleafing others, becaufe we receive pleafure from 
them ; but by what means can the man pleafe, whofe 
attention is engroffed by his diftreffes, and who has 
no leifure to be officious ; whofe will is reftrained by 
his neceflhies, and who has no power to confer 
benefits ; whofe temper is perhaps vitiated by mifery, 
and whofe underftanding is impeded by ignorance? 

It is yet a more offenfive difcouragement, that the 
fame actions performed by different hands produce 
different effects, and inftead of rating the man by his 
performances, we rate too frequently the perform- 
ance by the man. It fometimes happens in the corrn 
binations of life, that important fervices are per- 
formed by inferiors; but though their zeal and ac-* 
tivity may be paid by pecuniary rewards, they feidom 
excite that flow of gratitude, or obtain that accumu- 
lation of recompence, with which all think it their 
duty to acknowledge the favour of thofe who de- 


156 THE RAMBLER. N 166. 

fcend to their affiftance from a higher elevation. To 
be obliged, is to be in fome refpect inferior to an- 
other j and few willingly indulge the memory of an 
action which raifes one whom they have always been 
accuflomed to think below them, but fatisfy them- 
felves with faint praife and penurious payment, and 
then drive it from their own minds, and endeavour 
to conceal it from the knowledge of others. 

It may be always objected to the fervices of thofe 
who can be fuppofed to want a reward, that they 
were produced not by kindnefs but intereft ; they 
are therefore, when they are no longer wanted, eafily 
difregarded as arts of infmuation, or ftratagems of 
felfifhnefs. Benefits which are received as gifts from 
wealth, are exacted as debts from indigence ; and he 
that in a high ftation is celebrated for fuperfluous 
goodnefs, would in a meaner condition have barely 
been confefled to have done his duty. 

It is fcarcely poffible for the utmoft benevolence 
to oblige, when exerted under the difadvantages of 
great inferiority ; for by the habitual arrogance of 
wealth, fuch expectations are commonly formed as 
no zeal or induftry can fatisfy ; and what regard can 
he hope, who has done lefs than was demanded from 
him ? 

There are indeed kindnefies conferred which were 
never purchafed by precedent favours, and there is 
an affection not arifing from gratitude or grofs in- 
tereft, by which fimilar natures are attracted to each 
other, without profpect of any other advantage than 
the pleafure of exchanging fentiments, and the hope 
of confirming their efteem of themfelves by the ap- 
probation of each other. But this fpontaneous fond- 


Ni66. THE RAMBLER. 157 

nefs feldom rifes at the fight of poverty, which every 
one regards with habitual contempt, and of which 
the applaufe is no more courted by vanity, than the 
countenance is folicited by ambition. The moil 
generous and difmterefted friendihip muft be refolved 
at kft into the love of ourfelves ; he therefore whofe 
reputation or dignity inclines us to confider his 
efteem as a teftimonial of defert, will always find our 
hearts open to his endearments. We every day fee 
men of eminence followed with all the obfequioufnefs 
of dependance, and courted with all the blandifli- 
ments of flattery, by thofe who want nothing from 
them but profefllons of regard, and who think them- 
felves liberally rewarded by a bow, a fmile, or an 

But thofe prejudices which every mind feels more 
or lefs in favour of riches, ought, like other opinions 
which only cuftom and example have imprerTed upon 
us, to be in time fubjected to reafon. We muft learn 
how to feparate the real character from extraneous 
adhefions and cafual circumftances, to confider clofely 
him whom we are about to adopt or to reject ; to 
regard his inclinations as well as his actions ; to trace 
out thofe virtues which lie torpid in the heart for 
want of opportunity, and thofe vices that lurk unfeen 
by the abfence of temptation j that when we find 
worth faintly fliooting in the lhades of obfcurity, we 
may let in light and funfhine upon it, and ripen bar- 
ren volition into efficacy and poweiy 

153 THE RAMBLER. N 167. 

NUMB. 167. TUESDAY, Oftober 22, 1751. 

Candida perpetuo reflde concordia lefto, 

Tamque pari femper Jit Venus aqua jugo, 
Diligat ipfa fenem quondam, fed et ipfa mar it o 

'Turn quoque cum fuerit, non videatur anus. MART, 

Their nuptial bed may fmiling concord drefs, 

And Venus ftill the happy union blefs ! 

Wrinkled with age, may mutual love and truth 

To their dim eyes recall the bloom of youth. F. LEWIS* 

<To the RAMBLER. 


T is not common to envy thofe with whom we 
cannot eafily be placed in comparifon. Every 
man fees without malevolence the progrefs of another 
in the tracks of life, which he has himfelf no defire 
to tread, and hears, without inclination to cavils or 
contradiction, the renown of -thofe whofe diftance 
will not fuffer them to draw the attention of mankind 
from his own merit. The failor never thinks- it ne- 
ceflary to conteft the lawyer's abilities ; nor would the 
Rambler, however jealous of his reputation, be much 
difturbed by the fuccefs of rival wits at Agra or 

We do not therefore afcribe to you any fuperla- 
tive degree of virtue, when we believe that we may 
inform you of our change of condition without 
danger of malignant fafcination j and that when you 
read of the marriage of your correfpondents Hy- 



men^eus and Tranquilla, you will join your wifaes 
to thofe of their other friends for the happy event of 
an union in which caprice and felfifhnefs had fo little 

There is at leaft this reafon why we fhould be lefs 
deceived in our connubial hopes than many who enter 
into the fame flate, that we have allowed our minds 
to form no unreafonable expectations, nor vitiated 
our fancies, in the foft hours of courtfhip, with 
vifions of felicity which human power cannot bellow, 
or of perfection which human virtue cannot attain. 
That impartiality with which we endeavoured to in- 
fpect the manners of all whom we have known was 
never fo much overpowered by our paffion, but that 
we difcovered fome faults and weakneffes in each 
other ; and joined our hands in conviction, that as 
there are advantages to be enjoyed in marriage, there 
are inconveniencies likewife to be endured ; and that, 
together with confederate intellects and auxiliar vir- 
tues, we muft find different opinions and oppofite in- 

We however flatter ourfelves, for who is not flat- 
tered by himfelf as well as by others on the day of 
marriage? that we are eminently qualified to give 
mutual pleafure. Our birth is without any fuch 
remarkable difparity as can give either an oppor- 
tunity of infulting the other with pompous names 
and fplendid alliances, or of calling in, upon any 
domeftick controverfy, the overbearing affiftance of 
powerful relations. Our fortune was equally fuit- 
a'ble, fo that we meet without any of thofe obliga- 
tions, which always produce reproach or fufpicion, of 
reproach, which, though they may be forgotten in 
3 the 

160 THE RAMBLER. N* 16?* 

the gaieties of the firft month, no delicacy will al- 
ways fupprefs, or of which the fuppreflion muft be 
confidered as a new favour, to be repaid by tamenefs 
and fubmifTion, till gratitude takes the place of love, 
and the defire of pleafing degenerates by degrees into 
the fear of offending. 

The fettlements caufed no delay j for we did not 
truft our affairs to the negociation of wretches who 
would have paid their court by multiplying ftipula- 
tions. Tranquilla fcorned to detain any part of her 
fortune from him into whofe hands fhe delivered up 
her perfon - t and Hymen*eus thought no adl of bafe- 
nefs more criminal than his who enflaves his wife by 
her own generofity, who by marrying without a 
jointure condemns her to .all the dangers of accident 
and caprice, and at laft boafts his liberality, by 
granting what only the indifcretion of her kindnefs 
enabled him to withhold. He therefore received on 
the common terms the portion which any other wo- 
man might have brought him, and referved all the 
exuberance of acknowledgment for thofe excellencies 
which he has yet been able to difcover only in Tran- 

We did not pafs the weeks of courtfhip like thofe 
who confider themfelves as taking the laft draught 
of pleafure, and refolve not to quit the bowl with- 
out a furfeit, or who know themfelves about to 
fet happinefs to hazard, and endeavour to lofe their 
fcnfe of danger in the ebiiety of perpetual amufe- 
ment, and whirl round the gulph before they fink. 
Hymen<fus often repeated a medical axiom, that the 
Juccours of ficknefs ought not to be wafted in health. 
We know that however our eyes may yet fparkle, 


N 167. THE RAMBLER. 161 

and our hearts bound at the prefence of each other, 
the time of liftleffhefs and fatiety, of peeviftmefs and 
difcontent, muft come at laftj in which we fhall be 
driven for relief to fhows and recreations ; that the 
uniformity of life muft be fometimes diverfified, and 
the vacuities of converfation fometimes fupplied. 
We rejoice in the reflection that we have {tores of 
novelty yet unexhaufted, which may be opened when 
repletion fhall call for change, and gratifications yet 
untafted, by which life, when it lhall become vapid 
or bitter, may be reftored to its former fweetnefs and 
fprightlinefs, and again irritate the appetite, and 
again fparkle in the cup. 

Our time will probably be lefs taftelefs than that 
of thofe whom the authority and avarice of parents 
unites almoft without their confent in their early 
years, before they have accumulated any fund of re- 
flection, or collected materials for mutual entertain- 
ment. Such we have often feen riling in the morn- 
ing to cards, and retiring in the afternoon to dofe, 
whofe happinefs was celebrated by their neighbours, 
becaufe they happened to grow rich by parfimony, 
and to be kept quiet by infenfibility, and agreed to 
eat and to fleep together. 

We have both mingled with the world, and are 
therefore no ftrangers to the faults and virtues, 
the defigns and competitions, the hopes and fears 
of our cotemporaries. We have both amufed our 
leifure with books, and can therefore recount the 
events of former times, or eke the dictates of an- 
cient wifdom. Every occurrence furnifhes us with 
fome hint which one or the other can improve, 
and if it fhould happen that memory or imagina- 

VOL. VI. M tion 

162 THE RAMBLER. N 167. 

tion fail us, we can retire to no idle or unimproving 

Though our characters, beheld at a diftance, ex- 
hibit this general refemblance, yet a nearer infpec- 
tion difcovers fuch a diffimilitude of our habitudes 
and fentiments, as leaves each fome peculiar advan- 
tages, and affords that conccrdia difccrs, that fuitable 
difagreement which is always neceflary to intellectual 
harmony. There may be a total diverfity of ideas 
which admits no participation of the fame delight, 
and there may likewife be fuch a conformity of no- 
tions, as leaves neither any thing to add to the deci- 
fions of the other. With fuch contrariety there can 
be no peace, with fuch fimilarity there can be no 
pleafure. Our reafonings, though often formed upon 
different views, terminate generally in the fame con- 
clufion. Our thoughts, like rivulets iffuing from 
diftant fprings, are each impregnated in its courfe 
with various mixtures, and tinged by infufions un- 
known to the other, yet at laft eafily unite into one 
ftream, and purify themfelves by the gentle effer- 
vefcence of contrary qualities. 

Thefe benefits we receive in a greater degree as we 
converfe without referve, becaufe we have nothing to 
conceal. We have no debts to be paid by impercep- 
tible deductions from avowed expences, no habits to 
be indulged by the private fubferviency of a favoured 
fervant, no private interviews with needy relations, 
no intelligence with fpies placed upon each other. 
We confidered marriage as the mod folemn league of 
perpetual friendfhip, a ftate from which artifice and 
concealment are to be banifhed for ever, and in which 
every acl: of diilimulation is a breach of faith. 


N 167. THE RAMBLER. 163 

The impetuous vivacity of youth, and that ardour 
of defire, which the firft fight of pleafure naturally 
produces, have long ceafed to hurry us into irregu- 
larity and vehemence ; and experience has (hewn us 
that few gratifications are too valuable to be facrificed 
to complaifance. We have thought it convenient to 
reft from the fatigue of pleafure, and now only con- 
tinue that courfe of life into which we had before en- 
tered, confirmed in our choice by mutual approba- 
tion, fupported in our refolution by mutual encou- 
ragement, and affifted in our efforts by mutual ex- 

Such, Mr. Rambler, is our profpect of life, a pro- 
fpect which, as it is beheld with more attention, feems 
to open more extenfive happinefs, and fpreads by de- 
grees into the boundlefs regions of eternity. But if 
all our prudence has been vain, and we are doomed 
to give one inftance more of the uncertainty of hu- 
man difcernment, we fhall comfort ourfelves amidfl 
our difappointments, that we were not betrayed but 
by fuch delufions as caution could not efcape, fince 
we fought happinefs only in the arms of virtue. We 

S I R, 

Your humble Servants, 


M 2 

1 64 THE RAMBLER. N 168. 

NUMB. 168. SATURDAY, Oftober 26, 1751. 


From prnna, multoi, rara ?nens tntelllgit 

Quod inter lore condidit cur a angulo. PH K. D R ut. 

The tinfel glitter, and the fpecious mien, 
Delude the moft ; few pry behind the fcene. 

IT has been obferved by Boileau, that " a mean 
" or common thought exprefled in pompous dic- 
" tion, generally pleafes more than a new or noble 
" fentiment delivered in low and vulgar language ; 
" becaufe the number is greater of thofe whom cuf- 
" torn has enabled to judge of words, than whom 
" ftudy has qualified to examine things." 

This folution might fatisfy, if fuch only were of- 
fended with meannefs of expreffion as are unable to 
diftinguifh propriety of thought, and to feparate pro- 
pofitions or images from the vehicles by which they 
are conveyed to the underftanding. But this kind of 
difguft is by no means confined to the ignorant or fu- 
perficial ; it operates uniformly and univerfally upon 
readers of all clalTes j every man, however profound 
or abftracted, perceives himfelf irrefiftibly alienated 
by low terms j they who profefs the moft zealous ad- 
herence to truth are forced to admit that fhe owes 
part of her charms to her ornaments ; and lofes much 
of her power over the foul, when (he appears dif- 
graced by a drefs uncouth or ill-adjufted. 

We are all offended by low terms, but are not dif- 
gufted alike by the fame comgofitions, becaufe we do 


Ni68. THE RAMBLER. 165 

not all agree to cenfure the fame terms as low. No 
word is naturally or intrinfically meaner than another; 
our opinion therefore of words, as of other things ar- 
bitrarily and capricioufly eftablifhed, depends wholly 
upon accident and cuftom. The cottager thinks 
thofe apartments fplendid and fpacious, which an 
inhabitant of palaces will defpife for their inelegance ; 
and to him who has patted moft of his hours with the 
delicate and polite, many exprefiions will leem for- 
did, which another, equally acute, may hear without 
offence ; but a mean term never fails to difpleafe him 
to whom it appears mean, as poverty is certainly 
and invariably defpifed, though he who is poor in 
the eyes of fome, may by others be envied for his 

Words become low by the occafions to which they 
are applied, or the general character of them who ufe 
them ; and the difguft which they produce, arifes 
from the revival of thofe images with which they are 
commonly united. Thus if, in the moft folemn dif- 
courfe, a phrafe happens to occur which has been 
fuccefsfully employed in fome ludicrous narrative, 
the graveft auditor finds it difficult to refrain from 
laughter, when they who are not prepoffefied by the 
fame accidental affociation, are utterly unable to 
guefs the reafon of his merriment. Words which 
convey ideas of dignity in one age, are banilhed from 
elegant writing or converfation in another, becaufe 
they are in time debafed by vulgar mouths, and can 
be no longer heard without the involuntary recollec- 
tion of unpleafmg images. 

When Mackbeth is confirming himfelf in the hor- 
rid purpofe of ftabbing his king, he breaks out 

M 3 amidft 

166 THE RAMBLER. Ni68. 

amidft his emotions into a wifh natural to a mur- 

-. Come, thick night ! 
And pall thee in the dunncft fmoke of hell, 
That my keen knife fee not the wound it makes ; 
Nor heav'n peep through the blanket of the dark, 
To cry, Hold, hold ! 

In this pafTage is exerted all the force of poetry, that 
force which calls new powers into being, which em- 
bodies fentiment, and animates matter; yet perhaps 
fcarce any man now perufes it without fome difturb- 
ance of his attention from the counteraction of the 
words to the ideas. What can be more dreadful 
than to implore the prefence of night, inverted not 
in common obfcurity, but in the fmoke of hell ? Yet 
the efficacy of this invocation is deflroyed by the 
infertion of an epithet now feldom heard but in the 
ftable, and dun night may come or go without any 
other notice than contempt. 

If we ftart into raptures when fome hero of the 
Iliad tells us that <?opu p&wttou, his lance rages with 
eagernefs to deflroy j if we are alarmed at the terror 
of the foldiers commanded by Cajar to hew down the 
facred grove, who dreaded, fays Lucan, left the axe 
aimed at the oak fhould fly back upon the ftriker, 

Si roborafacraferirentj 
Infua credebant redituras membra fecures, 
None dares with impious fteel the grove to rend, 
Left on himfelf the deftin'd ftroke defcend i 

we cannot furely but fympathife with the horrors of 
p. wretch about to murder his mafter, his friend, his 
benefactor, who fufpects that the weapon will refufe 


Ni68. THE RAMBLER. 167 

its office, and ftart back from the breaft which he is 
preparing to violate. Yet this fentiment is weak- 
ened by the name of an inftrument ufed by butchers 
and cooks in the meaneft employments ; we do not 
immediately conceive that any crime of importance 
is to be committed with a knife \ or who does not, at 
Jaft, from the long habit of connecting a knife with 
fordid offices, feel an averfion rather than terror? 

Mackbeth proceeds to wifh, in the madnefs of guilt, 
that the infpection of heaven may be intercepted, and 
that he may, in the involutions of infernal darknefs, 
efcape the eye of providence. This is the utmoft 
extravagance of determined wickednefs; yet this is fo 
debafed by two unfortunate words, that while I en- 
deavour to imprefs on my reader the energy of the 
fentiment, I can fcarce check my rifibility, when the 
expreflion forces itfelf upon my mind ; for who, with- 
out fome relaxation of his gravity, can hear of the 
avengers of guilt peeping through a blanket? 

Thefe imperfections of diction are lefs obvious to 
the reader, as he is lefs acquainted with common 
ufages ; they are therefore wholly imperceptible to a 
foreigner, who learns our language from books, and 
will ftrike a folitary academick lefs forcibly than a 
modifh lady. 

Among the numerous requifites that moft concur to 
complete an author, few are of more importance than 
an early entrance into the living world. The feeds of 
knowledge may be planted in folitude, but muft be 
^cultivated in publick. Argumentation may be taught 
in colleges, and theories formed in retirement j but 
the artifice of embellilhment, and the powers of at- 
traction, can be gained only by general converfe. i 

M 4 An 

168 THE RAMBLER. N* 168. 

An acquaintance with prevailing cuftoms and fa- 
fhionable elegance is neceflary Jikewife for other pur- 
pofes. The injury that grand imagery fuffers from 
unfuitable language, perfonal merit may fear from 
rudenefs and indelicacy. When the fuccefs of jEneas 
depended on the favour of the queen upon whofe 
coafts he was driven, his celeftial protectrefs thought 
him not fufficiently fecured againft rejection by his 
piety or bravery, but decorated him for the inter- 
view with preternatural beauty. Whoever defires a 
for his writings or himfelf, what none can reafonably 
contemn, the favour of mankind, muft add grace to 
ftrength, and make his thoughts agreeable as well 
as ufeful. Many complain of neglect who never 
tried to attract regard. It cannot be expected that 
the patrons of fcience or virtue fhould be folicitous 
to difcover excellencies, which they who poflefs them 
{hade and difguife. Few have abilities fo much 
needed by the reft of the world as to be careffed on 
their own terms; and he that will not condefcend 
to recommend himfelf by external embellifhments, 
muft fubmit to the fate of juft fentiment meanly ex- 
prefied, and be ridiculed and forgotten before he is 

N 169- THE RAMBLER. 169 

NUMB. 169. TUESDAY, Offober 29, 1751. 

Nee pluteum ctedit, nee demorfcs fapit ungues. PERSIUS. 

No blood from bitten nails thofe poems drew ; 
But churn'd, like fpittle, from the lips they flew. 


NATURAL hiftorians afiert, that whatever is 
formed for long duration arrives flowly to its 
maturity. Thus the firmeft timber is of tardy growth, 
and animals generally exceed each other in longevity, 
In proportion to the time between their conception 
and their birth. 

The fame obfervation may be extended to the off- 
fpring of the mind. Hafty compofitions, however 
they pleafe at firft by flowery luxuriance, and fpread 
in the funfhine of temporary favour, can feldom en- 
dure the change of feafons, but perifh at the firft blaft 
of criticifm, or froft of neglect. When Apelles was 
reproached with the paucity of his productions, and 
the incefiant attention with which he retouched his 
pieces, he condefcended to make no other anfwer 
than that he 'painted for perpetuity. 

No vanity can more juftly incur contempt and in- 
dignation than that which boafts of negligence and 
hurry. For who can bear with patience the writer 
who claims fuch fuperiority to the reft of his fpecies, 
as to imagine that mankind are at leifure for atten- 
tion to his extemporary fallies, and that pofterity will 


170 THE RAMBLER. N 169. 

repofite his cafual efFufions among the treafures of 
ancient wifdom ? 

Men have fometimes appeared of fuch tranfcend- 
ent abilities, that their flighteft and mod curfory per- 
formances excel all that labour and fludy can enable 
meaner intellects to compofe; as there are regions 
of which the fpontaneous produces cannot be equal- 
led in other foils by care and culture. But it is no 
lefs dangerous for any man to place himfelf in this 
rank of understanding, and fancy that he is born to 
be illuftrious without labour, than to omit the cares 
of hufbandry, and expect from his ground the blof- 
foms of Arabia. 

The greateft part of thofe who congratulate them- 
felves upon their intellectual dignity, and ufurp the 
privileges of genius, are men whom only themfelves 
would ever have marked out as enriched by uncom- 
mon liberalities of nature, or entitled to veneration 
and immortality on eafy terms. This ardour of 
confidence is ufually found among thofe who, having 
not enlarged their notions by books or converfation, 
are perfuaded, by the partiality which we all feel in 
our own favour, that they have reached the furnmit 
of excellence, becaufe they difcover none higher than 
themfelves j and who acquiefce in the firft thoughts 
that occur, becaufe their icantinefs of knowledge al- 
lows them little choice ; and the narrownefs of their 
views affords them no glimpfe of perfection of that 
fublime idea which human induftry has from the 
firft ages been vainly toiling to approach. They 
fee a little, and believe that there is nothing beyond 
their fphere of vifion, as the Patuecos of Spain, who 


N'i6 9 . THE RAMBLER. 171 

inhabited a fmall valley, conceived the furrounding 
mountains to be the boundaries of the world. In 
proportion as perfection is more diftinflly con- 
ceived, the pleafure of contemplating our own 
performances will be leffened; it may therefore 
be obferved, that they who moft deferve praife are 
often afraid to decide in favour of their own perform- 
ances ; they know how much is ftill wanting to their 
completion, and wait with anxiety and terror the de- 
termination of the publick. / pleafe every one elfe y 
fays Tully, but never Jatisfy myfelf. 

It has often been inquired, why, notwithstanding 
the advances of later ages in fcience, and the affift- 
ance which the infufion of fo many new ideas has 
given us, we fall below the ancients in the art of 
compofition. Some part of their fuperiority may be 
juftly afcribed to the graces of their language, from 
which the moft polifhed of the prefent European 
tongues are nothing more than barbarous degenera- 
tions. Some advantage they might gain merely by 
priority, which put them in pofTeffion of the moil 
natural fentiments, and left us nothing but fervile 
repetition or forced conceits. But the greater part 
of their praife feems to have been the juft reward of 
modefty and labour. Their fenfe of human weak- 
nefs confined them commonly to one ftudy, which 
their knowledge of the extent of every fcience engaged 
them to profecute with indefatigable diligence. 

Among the writers of antiquity I remember none 
except Statins who ventures to mention the fpeedy 
production of his writings, either as an extenuation 
of his faults, or a proof of his facility. Nor did 
Statius, when he confidered himfelf as a candidate 
3S for 

ij2 THE RAMBLER. N 169. 

for lading reputation, think a clofer attention unne- 
cefifary, but amidft all his pride and indigence, the 
two great hafteners of modern poems, employed 
twelve years upon the *T&ebaid 3 and thinks his claim 
to renown proportionate to his labour. 

multa cruclata !ima, 
Tent at> audaci fide> Mantuanx: 
Gaudia fam&. 

Polifli'd with endlefs toil, my lays 
At length afpire to Mantuan praife. 

Ovid indeed apologizes in his banifhment for the 
imperfection of his letters, but mentions his want 
of leifure to polifh them as an addition to his cala- 
mities ; and was fo far from imagining revifals and 
corrections unnecefTary, that at his departure from 
Rome, he threw his Metamorphofes into the fire, left 
he fhould be difgraced by a book which he could not 
hope to finifh. 

It feems not often to have happened that the fame 
writer afpired to reputation in verfe and profe ; and 
of thofe few that attempted fuch diverfity of excel- 
lence, I know not that even one fucceeded. Con- 
trary characters they never imagined a fingle mind 
able to fupport, and therefore no man is recorded to 
have undertaken more than one kind of dramatick 

What they had written they did not venture in 
their firft fondnefs to thruft into the world, but con- 
fidering the impropriety of fending forth inconfide- 
rately that which cannot be recalled, deferred the 
publication, if not nine years, according to the di- 
rection of Horace^ yet till their fancy was cooled 


Ni6 9 . THE RAMBLER. 173 

after the raptures of invention, and the glare of no- 
velty had ceafed to dazzle the judgment. 

There were in thofe days no weekly or diurnal 
writers j multa dies, & mult a litura, much time, and 
many rafures, were confidered as indifpenfable re- 
quifites ; and that no other method of attaining laft- 
ing praife has been yet difcovered, may be conjec- 
tured from the blotted manufcripts of Milton now re- 
maining, and from the tardy emiffionofP0p<?'s com- 
pofitions, delayed more than once till the incidents 
to which they alluded were forgotten, till his enemies 
were fecure from his fatire, and, what to an honed 
mind muft be more painful, his friends were deaf to 
his encomiums. 

To him, whofe eagernefs of praife hurries his 
productions foon into the light, many imperfections 
are unavoidable, even where the mind furnifhes the 
materials, as well as regulates their difpofition, and 
nothing depends upon fearch or information. De- 
lay opens new veins of thought, the fubjedt difmiffed 
for a time appears with a new train of dependant 
images, the accidents of reading or converfation 
fupply new ornaments or allufions, or mere inter- 
miflion of the fatigue of thinking enables the mind 
to collect new force, and make new excurfions. But 
all thofe benefits come too late for him, who, when 
he was weary with labour, fnatched at the recom- 
pence, and gave his work to his friends and his ene- 
mies, as foon as impatience and pride perfuaded him 
to conclude it. 

One of the moft pernicious effects of hade, is 
obfcurity. He that teems with a quick fucceffion of 
ideas, and perceives how one fentiment produces an- 

i 7 4 THE RAMBLER. N 169. 

other, eafily believes that he can clearly exprefs what 
he fo ftrongly comprehends ; he feldom fufpects his 
thoughts of embarraflment, while he preferves in his 
own memory the feries of connection, or his diction 
of ambiguity, v/hile only one ienfe is prefent to his 
mind. Yet if he has been employed on an abftrufe, 
or complicated argument, he will find, when he has a 
while withdrawn his mind, and returns as a new reader 
to his work, that he has only a conjectural glimpfe of 
his own meaning, and that to explain it to thofe whom 
he defires to inftruct, he muft open his fentiments, 
difentangle his method, and alter his arrangement. 

Authors and lovers always fuffer fome infatuation, 
from which only abfence can fet them free ; and 
every man ought to reftore himfelf to the full exer- 
cife of his judgment, before he does that which he 
cannot do improperly, without injuring his honour 
and his quiet. 

i7c. THE RAMBLER. 175 

NUMB. 170. SATURDAY, November 2, 1751. 

Confiteor ; Jl quid prodeft delitta fateri* Cv i D . 

I grant the charge ; forgive the fault confefs'd. 

To the RAMBLER. 


I A M one of thofe beings from whom many, that 
melt at the fight of all other mifery, think it me- 
ritorious to withhold relief; one whom the rigour 
of virtuous indignation dooms to fuffer without com- 
plaint, and perifh without regard ; and whom I my- 
felf have formerly infulted in the pride of reputation 
and fecurity of innocence. 

I am of a good family, but my father was bur- 
thened with more children than he could decently 
fupport. A wealthy relation, as he travelled from 
London to his country feat, condefcending to make 
him a vifit, was touched with companion of his 
narrow fortune, and refolved to eafe him of part of 
his charge, by taking the care of a child upon him- 
felf. Diftrefs on one fide, and ambition on the 
other, were too powerful for parental fondnefs, and 
the little family paffed in review before him, that he 
might make his choice. I was then ten years old, 
and without knowing for what purpofe, I was called 
to my great coufin, endeavoured to recommend my- 
felf by my beft courtefy, fung him my prettieft fohg, 
told the laft ftory that 1 had read, and fo much en- 

176 THE RAMBLER. N 170. 

deared myfelf by my innocence, that he declared his 
refolution to adopt me, and to educate me with his 
own daughters. 

My parents felt the common ftruggles at the 
thought of parting, and Jome natural tears they 
dropped, but wip'd tbemfoon. They confidered, not 
without that falfe eftimation of the value of wealth, 
which poverty long continued always produces, that 
I was raifed to higher rank than they could give 
me, and to hopes of more ample fortune than 
they could bequeath. My mother fold fome of her 
ornaments to drefs me in fuch a manner as might 
fecure me from contempt at my firft arrival ; and 
when fhe difmiffed me, prefled me to her bofom with 
an embrace that I ftill feel, gave me fome precepts 
of piety, which, however neglected, I have not for- 
gotten, and uttered prayers for my final happinefs, 
of which I have not yet ceafed to hope that they 
will at laft be granted. 

My fitters envied my new finery, and feemed not 
much to regret our feparation ; my father conducted 
me to the ftage- coach with a kind of cheerful tender- 
nefs ; and in a very fhort time, I was tranfported to 
fplendid apartments, and a luxurious table, and grew 
familiar to fhow, noife, and gaiety. 

In three years my mother died, having implored 
a blefTing on her family with her laft breath. I had 
little opportunity to indulge a forrow which there 
was none to partake with me, and therefore foon 
ceafed to reflect much upon my lofs. My father 
turned all his care upon his other children, whom 
fome fortunate adventures and unexpected legacies 
enabled him, when he died four years after my mo- 

N'i70. THE RAMBLER. 177 

ther, to leave in a condition above their expecta- 

I Ihould have fhared the increafe of his fortune, 
and had once a portion afilgned me in his will ; but 
my coufm alluring him that all care for me was need- 
lefs, fmce he had refolved to place me happily in the 
world, directed him to divide my part amongft my 

Thus I was thrown upon dependance without re- 
fource. Being now at an age in which young women 
are initiated into company, I was no longer to be 
fupported in my former character, but at confiderable 
txpence ; fo that partly left I fhould wafte money, 
and partly left my appearance might draw too many 
compliments and affiduities, I was infenfibly degraded 
from my equality, and enjoyed few privileges above 
the head fervant, but that of receiving no wages. 

I felt every indignity, but knew that refentment 
would precipitate my fall. I therefore endeavoured 
to continue my importance by little fervices and 
adtive officioufnefs, and for a time preferved myfelf 
from neglect, by withdrawing all pretences to com- 
petition, and ftudying to pleafe rather than to fhine. 
But my intereft, notwithftanding this expedient, 
hourly declined, and my coufm's favourite maid be- 
gan to exchange repartees with me, and confult me 
about the alterations of a caft gown. 

I was now completely deprefled; and though I 
had feen mankind enough to know the neceflity of 
outward cheerfulnefs, I often withdrew to my 
chamber to vent my grief, or turn my condition 
in my mind, and examine by what means I might 

VOL. VI. N efcape 


efcape from perpetual mortification. At laft my 
fchemes and forrows were interrupted by a fudden 
change of my relation's behaviour, who one day 
took an occafion, when we were left together irt a 
room, to bid me fuffer myfelf no longer to be irt- 
fulted, but aflame the place which he always in- 
tended me to hold in the family. He allured me that 
his wife's preference of her own daughters {hould 
never hurt me j and, accompanying his profeflions 
with a purfe of gold, ordered me to befpeak a rich 
fuit at the mercer's, and to apply privately to him 
for money when I wanted it, and infmuate that my 
other friends fupplied me, which he would take care 
to confirm. 

By this ftratagem, which I did not then under- 
ftand, he filled me with tendernefs and gratitude, 
compelled me to repofe on him as my only fupport, 
and produced a neceffity of private converfation. 
He often appointed interviews at the houfe of an 
acquaintance > and fometimes called on me with a 
coach, and carried me abroad. My fenfe of his 
favour, and the defire of retaining it, difpofed me 
to unlimited complaifance, and though I faw his 
kindnefs grow every day more fond, I did not fuffer 
any fufpicion to enter my thoughts. At laft the 
wretch took advantage of the familiarity which he 
enjoyed as my relation, and the fubmiffion which he 
exacted as my benefactor, to complete the ruin of an 
orphan, whom his own promifes had made indigent, 
whom his indulgence had melted, and his authority 

I know not why it fhould afford fubje<5l of exult- 
ation, to overpower on any terms the rdblution, or 



furprife the caution of a girl ; but of all the boafters 
that deck themfelves in the fpoils of innocence and 
beauty, they furely have the leaft pretenftons to tri- 
umph, who fubmit to owe their fuccefs to fome 
cafual influence. They neither employ the graces 
of fancy, nor the force of understanding, in their 
attempts j they cannot pleafe their vanity with the 
art of their approaches, the delicacy of their adula- 
tions, the elegance of their addrefs, or the efficacy of 
their eloquence ; nor applaud themfelves as poffcfied 
of any qualities, by which affection is attracted. 
They furmount no obftacles, they defeat no rivals, 
but attack only thofe who cannot refift, and are often 
content to poflefs the body, without any folicitude to 
gain the heart. 

Many of thefe defpicable wretches does my pre- 
fent acquaintance with infamy and wickednefs en- 
able me to number among the heroes of debauchery. 
Reptiles whom their own fervants would have de- 
fpifed, had they not been their fervants, and with 
whom beggary would have difdained inLercoufe, had 
fhe not been allured by hopes of relief. Many of 
the beings which are now rioting in taverns, or 
fhivering in the ftreets, have been corrupted not by 
arts of gallantry which ftole gradually upon the af- 
fections and laid prudence afleep, but by the fear of 
lofing benefits which were never intended, or of in- 
curring refentment which they could not efcape; 
fome have been frighted by mafters, and fome awed 
by guardians into ruin. 

Our crime had its ufual confequence, and he foort 
perceived that I could not long continue in his 
family. I was diftracted at the thought of the re- 

N 2 proach 

i8o THE RAMBLER. N 170. 

proach which I now believed inevitable. He com- 
forted me with hopes of eluding all difcovery, and 
often upbraided me with the anxiety, which perhaps 
none but himfelf faw in my countenance ; but at laft 
mingled his affurances of protection and maintenance 
with menaces of total defertion, if in the moments 
of perturbation I fhould fuffer his fecret to efcape, 
or endeavour to throw on him any part of my in- 

Thus patted the difmal hours till my retreat could 
no longer be delayed. It was pretended that my re- 
lations had fent for me to a diftant country, and I 
entered upon a ftate which fhall be defcribed in my 
next letter. 

I am, SIR, &c. 


171. THE RAMBLER. 181 

NJUMB. 171. TUESDAY, November 5, 1751. 

call convex a tueri. Vi R G. 

Dark is the fun, and loathfome is the day. 


MI SELL A now fits down to continue her 
narrative. I am convinced that nothing 
would more powerfully preferve youth from irre- 
gularity, or guard inexperience from feduftion, than 
a juft defcription of the condition into which the 
wanton plunges herfelf, and therefore hope that 
my letter may be a fufficient antidote to my ex- 

After the diffraction, hefitation and delays which 
the timidity of guilt naturally produces, I was re- 
moved to lodgings in a diftant part of the town, 
under one of the characters commonly affumed upon 
fuch occafions. Here being by my circumftances 
condemned to folitude, I patted moft of my hours in 
bitternefs and anguifh. T ne converfation of the 
people with whom I was placed was not at all ca- 
pable of engaging my attention, or difpofTefTing the 
reigning ideas. The books which I carried to my 
retreat were fuch as heightened my abhorrence of 
myfelf ; for I was not fo far abandoned as to fink 
voluntarily into corruption, or endeavour to conceal 
from my own mind the enormity of my crime. 

N 3 My 

182 THE RAMBLER. N 171. 

My relation remitted none of his fondnefs, but 
vifited me fo often, that I was fometimes afraid left 
his affiduity fhould expofe him to fufpicion. When- 
ever he came he found me weeping, and was there- 
fore lefs delightfully entertained than he expe&ed. 
After frequent expoftulations upon the unreafonable- 
nefs of my forrow, and innumerable proteftations of 
everlafting regard, he at laft found that I was more 
affe&ed with the lofs of my innocence, than the 
danger of my fame, and that he might not be dif- 
turbed by my remorfe, began to lull my confcience 
with the opiates of irreiigion. His arguments were 
fuch as my courfe of life has fince expofed me often 
to the neceflity of hearing, vulgar, empty, and fal- 
lacious j yet they at firft confounded me by their 
novelty, filled me with doubt and perplexity, and 
interrupted that peace which I began to feel from 
the fincerity of my repentance, without fubftituting 
any other fupport. I liftened a while to his impious 
gabble, but its influence was foon overpowered by 
natural reafon and early education, and the convic- 
tions which this new attempt gave me of his bafenefs 
complered my abhorrence. I have heard of barba- 
rians, who, when tempefts drive Ihips upon their 
coaft, decoy them to the rocks that they may plunder 
their lading, and have always thought that wretches, 
thus mercilefs in their depredations, ought to be 
deftroyed by a general infurrecYion of all focial 
beings ; yet how light is this guilt to the crime of 
him, who in the agitations of remorfe cuts away the 
anchor of piety, and when he has drawn afide cre- 
dulity from the paths of virtue, hides the light of 
heaven which would direft her to return. I had 


N*i7i- THE RAMBLER. 183 

hitherto confidered him as a man equally betrayed 
with myfelf by the concurrence of appetite and op- 
portunity j but I now faw with horror that he was 
contriving to perpetuate his gratification, and was 
defirous to fit me to his purpofe by complete and ra- 
dical corruption. 

To efcape, however, was not yet in my power. 
I could fupport the expences of my condition, only 
by the continuance of his favour. He provided all 
that was neceflary, and, in a few weeks, congra- 
tulated me upon my efcape from the danger which 
we had both expected with fo much anxiety. I then 
began to remind him of his promife to reftore me 
with my fame uninjured to the world. He promifed 
me in general terms, that nothing Ihould be want- 
ing which his power could add to my happinefs, but 
forbore to releafe me from my confinement. I knew 
how much my reception in the world depended upon 
my fpeedy return, and was therefore outrageoufly 
impatient of his delays, which I now perceived to be 
only artifices of lewdnefs. He told me at lad, with 
an appearance of forrow, that all hopes of reftoration 
to my former (late were for ever precluded , that 
chance had difcovered my fecret, and malice di- 
vulged it; and that nothing now remainecj, but to 
feek a retreat more private, where curiofity or hatred 
could never find us. 

The rage, anguifh, and refentment, which I felt 
at this account are not to b.e exprefled. I was in 
fo much dread of reproach and infamy, which he re- 
prefented as purfuing me with full cry, that I yielded 
myfelf implicitly to his difpofal, and was removed, 
with a thoufand ftudied precautions, through by- 

N 4 ways 

184 THE RAMBLER. N 171. 

ways and dark pafiages to another houfe, where I 
harafled him with perpetual felicitations for a final! 
annuity, that might enable me to live in the country 
in obfcurity and innocence. 

This demand he at firft evaded with ardent pro- 
fefllons, but in time appeared offended at my im- 
portunity and diftruft; and having one day endea- 
voured to footh me with uncommon expreffions of 
tendernefs, when he found my difcontent immove- 
able, left me with fome inarticulate murmurs of 
anger. I was pleafed that he was at laft roufed to 
fenfibility, and expecting that at his next vifit he 
would comply with my requeft, lived with great 
tranquillity upon the money in my hands, and was 
fo much pleafed with this paufe of perfecution, that 
I did not reflect how much his abfence had exceeded 
the ufual intervals, till I was alarmed with the 
danger of wanting fubfiftence. I then fuddenly con- 
tracted my expences, but was unwilling to fupplicate 
for afliftance. Neceffity, however, foon overcame 
my modefty or my pride, and I applied to him by 
a letter, but had no anfwer. I writ in terms more 
preffing, but without effect. I then fent an agent 
to enquire after him, who informed me, that he had 
quitted his houfe, and was gone with his family to 
refide for fome time upon his eftate in Ireland. 

However fhocked at this abrupt departure, I was 
yet unwilling to believe that he could wholly aban- 
don me, and therefore, by the fale of my clothes, I 
fupported myfelf, expecting that every poft would 
bring me relief. Thus I pafled feven months be-, 
tween hope and dejection, in a gradual approach, 
to poverty and diftrefs, emaciated with difcontent, 



and bewildered with uncertainty. At laft, my land- 
lady, after many hints of the neceTity of a new lover, 
took the opportunity of my ab' fence to fearch my 
boxes, and miffing fome of my apparel, leized the re- 
mainder for rent, and led me to the door. 

To remonftrate againft legal cruelty, was vain; to 
fupplicate obdurate brutality, was hopelefs. I went 
away I knew not whither, and wandered about with- 
out'any fettled purpofe, unacquainted with the ufual 
expedients of mifery, unqualified for laborious of- 
fices, afraid to meet an eye that had feen me before, 
and hopelefs of relief from thofe who were ftrangers 
to my former condition. Night came on in the 
midft of my diffraction, and I ftill continued to wan- 
der till the menaces of the watch obliged me to Ihel- 
ter myfelf in a covered paflage. 

Next day, I procured a lodging in the back- 
ward garret of a mean houle, and employed my 
landlady to enquire for a fervice. My applications 
were generally rejected for want of a character. 
At length I was received at a draper's; but when^ 
it was known to my miftrefs that I had only one 
gown, and that of filk, fhe was of opinion that I 
looked like a thief, and without warning hurried me 
away. I then tried to fupport myfelf by my needle; 
and, by my landlady's recommendation, obtained a 
little work from a fhop, and for three weeks lived 
without repining ; but when my punctuality had 
gained me fo much reputation, that I was trufted to 
make up a head of fome value, one of my fellow- 
lodgers ftole the lace, and I was obliged to fly from 
a profecution. 


1 86 THE RAMBLER. . N 171. 

Thus driven again into the ftreets, I lived upon 
the leaft that could fupport me, and at night accom- 
modated myfeif under pent-houfes as well as I could. 
At length I became abfolutely pennylefs, and having 
drolled all day without fuftenance, was, at the 
clofe of evening, accofted by an elderly man, with 
an invitation to a tavern. I refufed him with hefi- 
tation ; he feized me by the hand, and drew me into 
a neighbouring houfe, where when he faw my face 
pale with hunger, and my eyes fwelling with tears, 
he fpurned me from him, and bad me cant and whine 
in fbme other place; he for his part would take care 
of his pockets. 

I ftill continued to (land in the way, having 
fcarcely ftrength to walk further, when another foon 
addrefied me in the fame manner. When he faw the 
fame tokens of calamity, he confidered that I might 
be obtained at a cheap rate, and therefore quickly 
made overtures, which I had no longer firmnefs to 
reject. By this man I was maintained four months 
in penurious wickednefs, and then abandoned to my 
former condition, from which I was delivered by 
another keeper. 

In this abject ftate I have now pafifed four years, 
the drudge of extortion and the fport of drunken- 
nefs ; fometimes the property of one man, and fome- 
times the common prey of accidental lewdnefsj at 
one time tricked up for fale by the miftrefs of a 
brothel, at another begging in the ftreets to be re- 
lieved from hunger by wickednefs j without any 
hope in the day but of finding fome whom folly or 
excefs may expofe to my allurements, and without any 


N 171- THE RAMBLER. 187 

reflexions at night, but fuch as guile and terror im- 
prefs upon me. 

If thofe who pafs their days in plenty and fecu- 
rity, could vifit for an hour the difmal receptacles 
to which the proftttute retires from her nocturnal 
excurfions, and fee the wretches that lie crowded 
together, mad with intemperance, ghaftly with fa- 
mine, naufeous with filth, and noifome with dif- 
eafe ; it would not be eafy for any degree of abhor- 
rence to harden them againft companion, or to re- 
prefs the defire which they muft immediately feel to 
refcue fuch numbers of human beings from a ftate 
fo dreadful. 

It is faid that in France they annually evacuate 
their ftreets, and fhip their proftitutes and vagabonds 
to their colonies. If the women that infeil this city 
had the fame opportunity of efcaping from their 
miferies, I believe very little force would be necef- 
faryj for who among them can dread any change? 
Many of us indeed are wholly unqualified for any 
but the mod fervile employments, and thole perhaps 
would requfre the care of a magiftrate to hinder 
them from following the fame practices in another 
country ; but others are only precluded by infamy 
from reformation, and would gladly be delivered on 
any terms from the neceffity of guilt and the tyranny 
of chance. No place but a populous city can af- 
ford opportunities for open proftitution, and where 
the eye of juftice can attend to individuals, thofe 
who cannot be made good may be refcrained from 
rnifchief. For my part, I fhould exult at the pri- 
vilege of banilhment, and think myfelf happy in any 


i88 THE RAMBLER. N 172. 

region that mould reftore me once again to honefly 
and peace. 

I am, SI R, &c. 

M I S E L L A. 

NUMB. 172. SATURDAY, November 9, 1751. 

S&pe rogare foles qttalisjim, Prifce, futurus 

Sijiam locuples ; fimque repent e pot ens. 
Quemquam poffe putas mores narrare futures ? 

Die mibi, Jt fas tu leo, qua/is eris. MART. 

Prifeus, youVe often afk'd me how I'd live, 

Shou'd fate at once both wealth and honour give. 

What foul his future condudt can forefee? 

Tell me what fort of lion you wou'd be. . F.LEWIS. 

NOTHING has been longer obferved, than 
that a change of fortune caufes a change of 
manners ; and that it is difficult to conjecture, from 
the conduct of him whom we fee in a low condi- 
tion, how he would act, if wealth and power were put 
into his hands. But it is generally agreed, that few 
men are made better by affluence or exaltation ; and 
that the powers of the mind, when they are unbound 
and expanded by the fun-mine of felicity, more fre- 
quently luxuriate into follies, than bloflbm into good- 

Many obfervations have concurred to eftablifli 
this opinion, and it is not likely foon to become ob- 
folete, for want of new occafions to revive it. The 


NO 172- THE RAMBLER. 189 

greater part of mankind are corrupt in every con- 
dition, and differ in high and in low ftations, only as 
they have more or fewer opportunities of gratifying 
their defires, or as they are more or lefs reftrained 
by human cenfures. Many vitiate their principles 
in the acquifition of riches ; and who can wonder 
that what is gained by fraud and extortion is enjoyed 
with tyranny and excefs ? 

Yet I am willing to believe that the depravation 
of the mind by external advantages, though certainly 
not uncommon, yet approaches not fo nearly to uni- 
verfality, as fome have afierted in the bitternefs of 
refentment, or heat of declamation. 

Whoever rifes above thofe who once pleafed them- 
felves with equality, will have many malevolent 
gazers at his eminence. To gain fooner than others 
that which all purfue with the fame ardour, and to 
which all imagine themfelves entitled, will for ever 
be a crime. When thofe who ftarted with us in the 
race of life, leave us fo far behind, that we have little 
hope to overtake them, we revenge our difappoint- 
ment by remarks on the arts of fupplantation by 
which they gained the advantage, or on the folly and 
arrogance with which they poflefs it. Of them, whofe 
rife we could not hinder, we folace ourfclves by prog- 
nofticating the fall. 

It is impoffible for human purity not to betray to 
an eye, thus fharpened by malignity, fome ftains 
which lay concealed and unregarded while none 
thought it their intereft to difcover them ; nor can 
the moft circumfpecl: attention, or fteady rectitude, 
cfcape blame from cenfors, who have no inclination 


190 THE RAMBLER. N 172. 

to approve. Riches therefore perhaps do not fo often 
produce crimes as incite accufers. 

The common charge againft thofe who rife above 
their original condition, is that of pride. It is cer- 
tain that fuccefs naturally confirms us in a favourable 
opinion of our own abilities. Scarce any man is 
willing to allot to accident, friendship, and athou- 
1'and caufes, which concur in every event without 
human contrivance or interpofition, the part which 
they may juftly claim in his advancement. We rate 
ourfelves by our fortune rather than our virtues, 
and exorbitant claims are quickly produced by ima- 
ginary merit. But captioufnefs and jealoufy are 
likewife eafily offended, and to him who ftudioufly 
looks for an affront, every mode of behaviour will 
fupply it ; freedom will be rudenefs, and referve 
fullennefs j mirth will be negligence, and feriouf- 
nefs formality : when he is received with ceremony, 
diftance and refpeft are inculcated j if he is treated 
with familiarity, he concludes himfelf infulted by 

It muft however be confeffed, that as all fudden 
changes are dangerous, a quick tranfition from 
poverty to abundance can feldom be made with 
fafety. He that has long lived within fight of 
pleafures which he could not reach, will need more 
than common moderation, not to lofe his reafon in 
unbounded riot, when they are firft put into his 

Every pofiefiion is endeared by novelty; every 
gratification is exaggerated by defire. It is difficult 
not to eftimate what is lately gained above its real 

value ; 

Ni72. THE RAMBLER. , 9I 

value ; it is impoflible not to annex greater happinefs 
to that condition from which we are unwillingly ex- 
cluded, than nature has qualified us to obtain. For 
this reafon, the remote inheritor of an unexpected 
fortune, may be generally diftingnifhed from thofe 
who are enriched in the common courfe of lineal 
defcent, by his greater hafte to enjoy his wealth, by 
the finery of his drefs, the pomp of his equipage, 
the fplendor of his furniture, and the luxury of his 

A thoufand things which familiarity difcovers to 
be of little value, have power for a time to feize the 
imagination. A Virginian king, when the Europeans 
had fixed a lock on his door, was fo delighted to find 
his fubje&s admitted or excluded with fuch facility, 
that it was from morning to evening his whole em- 
ployment to turn the key. We, among whom locks 
and keys have been longer in ufe, are inclined to 
laugh at this American amufement; yet I doubt 
whether this paper will have a fingle reader that 
may not apply the ftory to himfelf, and recollect 
fome hours of his life in which he has been equally 
overpowered by the tranfitory charms of trifling no- 

Some indulgence is due to him whom a happy 
gale of fortune has fuddenly tranfported into new 
regions, where unaccuftomed luftre dazzles his eyes, 
and untafted delicacies folicit his appetite. Let 
him not be confidered as loft in hopelefs degene- 
racy, though he for a while forgets the regard due 
to others, to indulge the contemplation of himfelf, 
and in the extravagance of his firft raptures ex-' 
peels chat his eye fhould regulate the motions bf 1 
3 'all 

192 THE RAMBLER. N 172. 

all that approach him, and his opinion be received 
as decifive and oraculous. His intoxication will 
give way to time j the madnefs of joy will fume 
imperceptibly away -, the fenfe of his infufficiency 
will foon return ; he will remember that the co- 
operation of others is necedary to his happinefs, 
and learn to conciliate their regard by reciprocal 

There is, at lead, one confederation which ought 
to alleviate our cenfures of the powerful and rich. 
To imagine them chargeable with all the guilt and 
folly of their own actions, is to be very little ac- 
quainted with the world. 

Df I'alifolu pouvoir vous ignorcz I'yvreJ/e, 
Et du. lacbe jiateur la voix enchanterejje* 

Thou haft not known the giddy whirls of fate, 
Nor fervile flatteries which enchant the great. 

Mifs A. W. 

He that can do much good or harm, will not find 
many whom ambition or cowardice will fuffer to be 
lincere. While we live upon the level with the reft 
of mankind, we are reminded of our duty by the ad- 
monitions of friends, and reproaches of enemies ; but 
men who (land in the higheft ranks of fociety, feldom 
hear of their faults j if by any accident an opprobri- 
ous clamour reaches their ears, flattery is always at 
hand to pour in her opiates, to quiet conviction, and 
obtund remorfe. 

; Favour is feldom gained but by conformity in vice. 
Virtue can ftand without affiftance, and confiders 
herfclf as very little obliged by countenance and 



approbation : but vice, fpiritlefs and timorous, feeks 
the fhelter of crowds, and fupport of confederacy. 
The fycophant, therefore, neglects the good qualities 
of his patron, and employs all his art. on his weak- 
neftes and follies, regales his reigning vanity, or fti- 
mulates his prevalent defires. 

Virtue is fufficiently difficult with any circum- 
ftances, but the difficulty is increafed when reproof 
and advice are frighted away. In common life, rea- 
fon and confcience have only the appetites and paf- 
fions to encounter ; but in higher ftations, they muft 
oppofe artifice and adulation. He, therefore, that 
yields to fuch temptations, cannot give thofe who 
look upon his mifcarriage much reafon for exulta- 
tion, fince few can juftly prefume that from the fame 
fnare they fhould have been able to efcape. 


194 THE RAMBLER. N* 173. 

NUMB. 173. TUESDAY, November 12, 1751. 

Quo virtus, quoferat error ? Ho R . 

Now fay, where virtue flops, and vice begins ? 

AS any action or pofture, long continued, will 
diftort and disfigure the limbs ; fo the mind 
likewife is crippled and contracted by perpetual ap- 
plication to the fame fet of ideas. It is eafy to guefs 
the trade of an artizan by his knees, his fingers, or 
his fhoulders j and there are few among men of the 
more liberal profeffions, whofe minds do not carry 
the brand of their calling, or whofe converfation does 
not quickly difcover to what clafs of the community 
they belong. 

Thefe peculiarities have been of great ufe, in the 
general hoftility which every part of mankind exer- 
cifes againft the reft, to furnifh infults and farcafms. 
Every art has its dialect uncouth and ungrateful to 
all whom cuftom has not reconciled to its found, and 
which therefore becomes ridiculous by a flight mif- 
application, or unneceffary repetition. 

The general reproach with which ignorance re- 
venges the fupercilioufnefs of learning, is that of 
pedantry j a cenfure which every man incurs, who 
has at any time the misfortune to talk to thofe who 
cannot underftand him, and by which the modeft 
and timorous are fometimes frighted from the dif- 

play of their acquifitions, and the exertion of their 


N*i73- THE RAMBLER. i 95 

The name of a pedant is fo formidable to young 
men when they firft lally from their colleges, and is 
fo liberally fcattered by thofe who mean to boaft their 
elegance of education, eafinefs of manners, and know- 
ledge of the world, that it feems to require particular 
confideration -, fince, perhaps, if it were once under- 
ftood, many a heart might be freed from painful ap- 
prehenfions, and many a tongue delivered from re- 

Pedantry is the unfeaibnable oflentation of learn- 
ing. It may be difcovered either in the choice of a 
fubject, or in the manner of treating it. He is un- 
doubtedly guilty of pedantry, who, when he has made 
himfelf matter of fome abftrufe and uncultivated part 
of knowledge, obtrudes his remarks and difcoveries 
upon thofe whom he believes unable to judge of his 
proficiency, and from whom, as he cannot fear con- 
tradiction, he cannot properly expect applaufe. 

To this error the ftudent is fometimes betrayed by 
the natural recurrence of the mind to its common 
employment, by the pleafure which every man re- 
ceives from the recollection of pleafmg images, and 
the defire of dwelling upon topicks, on which he 
knows himfelf able to fpeak with juftnefs. But be- 
caufe we are feldom fo far prejudiced in favour of 
each other, as to fearch out for palliations, this failure 
of politenefs is imputed always to vanity ; and the 
harmlefs collegiate, who perhaps intended entertain- 
ment and inftruction, or at worft only fpoke without 
fufficient reflection upon the character of his hearers, 
is cenfured as arrogant or overbearing, and eager to 
extend his renown, in contempt of the convenience 
of fociety, and the laws ofconverfation. 

O 2 All 

196 THE RAMBLER. N 173. 

All difcourfe of which others cannot partake, is 
not only an irkfome ufurpation of the time devoted 
to pleafure and entertainment, but, what never fails 
to excite very keen refentment, an infolent affertion 
of fuperiority, and a triumph over lefs enlightened 
understandings. The pedant is, therefore, not only 
heard with wearinefs, but malignity ; and thofe who 
conceive themfelves infulted by his knowledge, never 
fail to tell with acrimony how injudicioufly it was 

To avoid this dangerous imputation, fcholars fome- 
times diveft themfelves with too much hade of their 
academical formality, and in their endeavours to ac- 
commodate their notions and their ftyle to common 
conceptions, talk rather of any thing than of that 
which they underftand, and fink into infipidity of 
fentiment and meannefs of expreflion. 

There prevails among men of letters an opinion, 
that all appearance of fcience is particularly hateful 
to women j and that therefore, whoever defires to be 
well received in female aflemblies, muft qualify him- 
felf by a total rejection of all that is ferious, rational, 
or important ; muft confider argument or criticifm, as 
perpetually interdicted ; and devote all his attention 
to trifles, and all his eloquence to compliment. 

Students often form their notions of the prefent 
generation from the writings of the part, and are not 
very early informed of thofe changes which the gra- 
dual diffufion of knowledge, or the fudden caprice 
of fafhion, produces in the world. Whatever might 
be the ftate of female literature in the laft century, 
there is now no longer any danger left the fcholar 
fiiould want an adequate audience at the tea-table ; 


N 173- THE RAMBLER. 197 

and whoever thinks it neceffary to regulate his con- 
verfation by antiquated rules, will be rather defpifcd 
for his futility than careffed for his politenefs. 

To talk intentionally in a manner above the com- 
prehenfion of thofe whom we addrefs, is unqueftion- 
able pedantry ; but furely complaifance requires, that 
no man fhould, without proof, conclude his company 
incapable of following him to the higheft elevation of 
his fancy, or the utmoft extent of his knowledge. It 
is always fafer to err in favour of others than of our- 
felves, and therefore we feldom hazard much by en- 
deavouring to excel. 

It ought at lead to be the care of learning, when 
fhe quits her exaltation, to defcend with dignity. 
Nothing is more defpicable than the airinefs and jo- 
cularity of a man bred to fevere fcience, and folitary 
meditation. To trifle agreeably is a fecret which 
fchools cannot impart j that gay negligence and vi- 
vacious levity, which charm down refiftance where- 
ever they appear, are never attainable by him who, 
having fpent his firft years among the duft of libra- 
ries, enters late into the gay world with an unpliant 
attention and eflablifhed habits. 

It is obferved in the panegyrick on Falricius the 
mechanift, that, though forced by publick employ- 
ments into mingled converfation, he never loft the 
modefty and ferioufnefs of the convent, nor drew ri- 
dicule upon himfelf by an affected imitation of fa- 
Ihionable life. To the fame praife every man de- 
voted to learning ought to afpire. If he attempts 
the fofter arts of pleafing, and endeavours to learn the 
graceful bow and the familiar embrace, the infinuat- 
ing accent and the general fmile, he will lofe the 

O 3 refpeft 

198 THE RAMBLER. N 173. 

refpect due to the character of learning, without ar- 
riving at the envied honour of doing any thing with 
elegance and facility. 

^Theophraftus was difcovered not to be a native of 
AtbenSy by fo ftrict an adherence to the Attic dialect, 
as fhewed that he had learned it not by cuftoin, but 
by rule. A man not early formed to habitual ele- 
gance, betrays in like manner the effects of his edu- 
cation, by an unneceflfary anxiety of behaviour. It 
is as poffible to become pedantick by fear of pedantry, 
as to be troublefome by ill-timed civility. There is 
no kind of impertinence more juflly cenfurable, than 
his who is always labouring to level thoughts to in- 
tellects higher than his own j who apologizes for every 
word which his own narrownefs of converfe inclines 
him to think unufual ; keeps the exuberance of his 
faculties under vifible reftraint ; is folicitous to anti- 
cipate enquiries by needlefs explanations ; and endea- 
vours to fhade his own abilities, left weak eyes 
fliould be dazzled with their luftre. 

174. THE RAMBLER. 199 

NUMB. 174. SATURDAY, November 15, 1751 

Fartium babet in cornu, longe fuge, dummodo rifum 

Excutiat Jibi, non hie cuiquam parcel amico. HOR, 

Yonder he drives avoid that furious beaft ; 

If he may have his jeft, he never cares 

At whofe expence ; nor friend nor patron fpares. 


?o the RAMBLER. 


THE laws of focial benevolence require, that 
every man fhould endeavour to affift others 
by his experience. He that has at lad efcaped into 
port from the fluctuations of chance, and the gufts 
of oppofition, ought to make fome improvements in 
the chart of life, by marking the rocks on which he 
lias been dafhed, and the fhallows where he has been 

The error into which I was betrayed, when cuflorn 
firft gave me up to my own direction, is very fre- 
quently incident to the quick, the fprightly, the fear- 
lefs, and the gayj to all whofe ardour hurries them 
into precipitate execution of their defigns, and im- 
prudent declaration of their opinions j who feldom 
count the coft of pleafure, or examine the diftant 
confequences of any practice that flatters them with 
immediate gratification. 

04 I came 

200 THE RAMBLER. N 174. 

I came forth into the crowded world with the ufual 
juvenile ambition, and defired nothing beyond the 
title of a wit. Money I confidered as below my 
care j for I faw fuch multitudes grow rich without 
imderftanding, that I could not forbear to look on 
wealth as an acquifition eafy to induftry directed by 
genius, and therefore threw it afide as a fecondary 
convenience, to be procured when my principal wiih 
fhould be fatisfied, and the claim to intellectual ex- 
cellence univerfally acknowledged. 

With this view I regulated my behaviour in pub- 
lick, and exercifed my meditations in folitude. My 
life was divided between the care of providing topicks 
for the entertainment of my company, and that of 
collecting company worthy to be entertained; for I 
foon found, that wit, like every other power, has its 
boundaries ; that its fuccefs depends upon the apti- 
tude of others to receive impreflions ; and that as 
fome bodies, indiflbluble by heat, can fet the furnace 
and crucible at defiance, there are minds upon which 
the rays of fancy may be pointed without effect, and 
which no fire of fentiment can agitate or exalt. 

It was, however, not long before I fitted myfelf 
with a fet of companions who knew how to laugh, 
and to whom no othev recommendation was necef- 
fary than the power of finking out a jeft. Among 
thofe I fixed my refidence, and for a time enjoyed 
the felicity of diflurbing the neighbours every night 
with the obltreperous applaufe which my fallies forced 
from the audience. The reputation of our club every 
day increafed, and as my flights and remarks were 
circulated by my admirers, every day brought new 
folicitations for admifiion into our fociety. 


N'i74- THE RAMBLER. aoi 

To fupport this perpetual fund of merriment, I 
frequented every place of concourfe, cultivated the 
acquaintance of all the fafhionable race, and pafied 
the day in a continual fucceffion of vifits, in which 
I collected a treafure of pleafantry for the expences of 
the evening. Whatever error of conduct I could d if- 


cover, whatever peculiarity of manner I could ob- 
ferve, whatever weaknefs was betrayed by confidence, 
whatever lapfe was fuffered by neglect, all was drawn, 
together for the diverfion of my wild companions, 
who, when they had been taught the art of ridicule, 
never failed to fignalize themfelves by a zealous imi- 
tation, and filled the town on the enfuing day with 
fcandal and vexation, with merriment and fhame. 

I can fcarcely believe, when I recollect my own 
practice, that I could have been fo far deluded with 
petty praife, as to divulge the fecrets of truft, and 
to expofe the levities of frank nefs ; to waylay the 
walks of the cautious, and furprife the fecurity of the 
thoughtlefs. Yet it is certain, that for many years 
I heard nothing but with defign to tell it, and faw 
nothing with any other curiotity than after forne 
failure that might furnifh out a jeft. 

My heart, indeed, acquits me of deliberate ma- 
lignity, or interefted infidioufnefs. I had no other 
purpofe than to heighten the pleafure of laughter by 
communication, nor ever raifed any pecuniary ad- 
vantage from the calamities of others. I led weak- 
nefs and negligence into difficulties, only that I 
might divert myiHf with their perplexities and dif- 
trefles ; and violated every law of friendlhip, with 
no other hope than that of gaining the reputation of 
imartnefs and waggery. 

I would 


I would not be underftood to charge myfelf with 
any crimes of the atrocious or deftructive kind. I 
never betrayed an heir to gamefters, or a girl to de- 
bauchees j never intercepted the kindnefs of a patron, 
or fported away the reputation of innocence. My 
delight was only in petty mifchief, and momentary 
vexations, and my acutenefs was employed not upon 
fraud and oppreffion, which it had been meritorious 
to detect, but upon harmlefs ignorance or abfurdity, 
prejudice or miftake. 

This enquiry I purfued with fo much diligence and 
fagacity, that I was able to relate, of every man 
\vhom I knew, fome blunder or mifcarriage ; to be- 
tray the mod circumfpect of my friends into follies, 
by a judicious flattery of his predominant paffion ; 
or expofe him to contempt, by placing him in cir- 
cumftances which put his prejudices into action, 
brought to view his natural defects, or drew the at- 
tention of the company on his airs of affectation. 

The power had been poflefled in vain if it had ne- 
ver been exerted j and it was not my cuftom to let 
any arts of jocularity remain unemployed. My im- 
patience of applaufe brought me always early to the 
place of entertainment; and I feldom failed to Jay a 
fcheme with the fmall knot that firft gathered round 
me, by which fomeof thofe whom we expected might 
be made fubfervient to our fport. Every man has 
fome favourite topick of converfation, on which, by 
a feigned ferioufnefs of attention, he may be drawn 
to expatiate without end. Every man has fome ha- 
bitual contortion of body, or eftablifhed mode of ex- 
preffion, which never fails to raife mirth if it be 
pointed out to notice. By premonitions of thele 


N 174. THE RAMBLER. 203 

particularities I fecured our pleafantry. Our com- 
panion entered with his ufual gaiety, and began to 
partake of our noify cheerfulnefs, when the conver- 
fation was imperceptibly diverted to a fubjecl: which 
prefled upon his tender part, and extorted the ex- 
pected ihrug, the cuftomary exclamation, or the pre- 
dicted remark. A general clamour of joy then burft 
from all that were admitted to the ftratagem. Our 
mirth was often increafed by the triumph of him that 
occafioned it -, for as we do not haftily form conclu- 
fions againft ourfelves, feldom any one fufpected, that 
he had exhilarated us otherwife than by his wit. 

You will hear, I believe, with very little furprize, 
that by this conduct I had in a fhort time united 
mankind againft me, and that every tongue was dili- 
gent in prevention or revenge. I foon perceived 
myfelf regarded with malevolence or diftruft, but 
wondered what had been difcovered in me either ter- 
rible or hateful. I had invaded no man's property ; 
I had rivalled no man's claims ; nor had ever en- 
gaged in any of thofe attempts which provoke the 
jealoufy of ambition, or the rage of faction. I had 
lived but to laugh, and make others laugh ; and be- 
lieved that I was loved by all who carefled, and fa- 
voured by all who applauded me. I never imagined, 
that he who, in the mirth of a nocturnal revel, con- 
curred in ridiculing his friend, would confider, in a 
cooler hour, that the fame trick might be played 
againft himfelf ; or that, even where there is no fenfe 
of danger, the natural pride of human nature rifes 
againft him, who by general cenfures lays claim to 
general fuperiority. 

I was 

204 THE RAMBLER. N 174. 

I was convinced, by a total defertion, of the im- 
propriety of my conduct ; every man avoided, and 
cautioned others to avoid me. Wherever I came, I 
found filence and dejection, coldnefs and terror. No 
one would venture to fpeak, left he fhould lay him- 
felf open to unfavourable reprefentations ; the com- 
pany, however numerous, dropped off at my entrance 
upon various pretences ; and if I retired to avoid the 
ihame of being left, I heard confidence and mirth 
revive at my departure. 

If thofe whom I had thus offended, could have 
contented themfelves with repaying one infult for 
another, and kept up the war only by a reciprocation 
of farcafms, they might have perhaps vexed, buE 
would never much have hurt me ; for no man heartily 
hates him at whom he can laugh. But thefe wounds 
which they give me as they fly, are without cure ; 
this alarm which they fpread by their folicitude to 
efeape me, excludes me from all friendfhip and from 
all pleafure. I am condemned to pafs a long inter- 
val of my life in folitude, as a man fufpected of infec- 
tion is refufed admiffion into cities; and muft linger 
in obfcurity, till my conduct fhall convince the 
world, that I may be approached without hazard. 

I am, &c. 


N i75- THE RAMBLER. 205 

NUMB. 175. TUESDAY, November 19, 1751, 

Rari quippe loni, numero vixfunt tot I Jem quot 

Thebarum portte, vel divitis oftia Nili . J u v. 

Good men are fcarce, the juft are thinly fo\vn ; 
They thrive but ill, nor can they laft when grown. 
And fhould we count them, and our ftore compile ; 
Yet Thebes more gates could fhew, more mouths the Nile. 


NONE of the axioms of wifdom which recom- 
mend the ancient fages to veneration, feems 
to have required lefs extent of knowledge, or perfpi- 
cacity of penetration, than the remark of Bias, that 
it irXtovss XKXOI, the majority are wicked. 

The depravity of mankind is fo eafily difcover- 
able, that nothing but the defert or the cell can 
exclude it from notice. The knowledge of crimes 
intrudes uncalled and undefired. They whom their 
abftraction from common occurrences hinders frorri 
feeing iniquity, will quickly have their attention 
awakened by feeling it. Even he who ventures 
not into the world, may learn its corruption in hrs 
clofet. For what are treatifes of morality, but 
perfuafives to the practice of duties, for which no 
arguments would be necefiary, but that we are con*- 
tinually tempted to violate or neglect them ? What 
are all the records of hiftory, but narratives of fuc- 
cefllve villanies, of treafons and ufurpations, maffa- 
cres and wars ? 



But, perhaps, the excellence of aphorifms confifts 
not fo much in the expreffion of fome rare or ab- 
ftrufe fentiment, as in the comprehenfion of fome ob- 
vious and ufeful truth in a few words. We fre-* 
quently fall into error and folly, not becaufe the true 
principles of action are not known, but becaufe, for 
a time, they are not remembered ; and he may there- 
fore be juftly numbered among the benefactors of 
mankind, who contracts the great rules of life into 
fhort fentences> that may be eafily imprefled on the 
memory, and taught by frequent recollection to re- 
cur habitually to the mind. 

However thole who have paiTed through half the 
life of man, may now wonder that any fhould re- 
quire to be cautioned againft corruption, they will 
find, that they have themfelves purchafed their con- 
viction by many difappointrnents and vexations, 
which an earlier knowledge would have fpared them ; 
and may fee, on every tide, fome entangling them- 
felves in perplexities, and fome finking into ruin, by 
ignorance or neglect of the maxim of Bias. 

Every day fends out, in queft of pleafure and dif- 
tmction, fome heir fondled in ignorance, and flat- 
tered into pride. He comes forth with all the con- 
fidence of a fpirit unacquainted with fuperiors, and 
all the benevolence of a mind not yet irritated by 
oppofition, alarmed by fraud, or embittered by 
cruelty. He loves all, becaufe he imagines himfelf 
the univerial favourite. Every exchange of faluta- 
tion produces new acquaintance, and every acquaint- 
ance kindles into friendlhip. 

Every feafon brings a new Might of beauties into 
the world, who have hitherto heard only of their 


N 6 175, THE RAMBLER. 107 

own charms, and imagine that the heart feels no 
paffion but that of love. They are fbon furrounded 
by admirers whom they credit, becaufe they tell 
them only what is heard with delight. Whoever 
gazes upon them is a lover; and whoever forces a 
figh, is pining in defpair. 

He furely is a ufeful monitor, who inculcates to 
thefe thoughtlefs ftrangers, that the majority are 
tvicked j who informs them, that the train which 
wealth and beauty draw after them, is lured only by 
the fcent of prey ; and that, perhaps, among all thole 
who crowd about them with profeffions and flatteries, 
there is not one who does not hope for fome oppor- 
tunity to devour or betray them, to glut himfelf by 
their destruction, or to fhare their fpoils with a ftronger 

Virtue prefented fingly to the imagination or 
the reafon, is fo well recommended by its own. 
graces, and fo ftrongly fupported by arguments, 
that a good man wonders how any can be bad ; and 
they who are ignorant of the force of paffion and in- 
tereft, who never obferved the arts of feduction, the 
contagion of example, the gradual defcent from one 
crime to another, or the infenfible depravation of the 
principles by loofe converfation, naturally expect to 
find integrity in every bofom, and veracity en every 

It is indeed impoffible not to hear from thofe who 
have lived longer, of wrongs and falfehoods, of 
violence and circumvention j but fuch narratives 
are commonly regarded by the young, the heady, 
and the confident, as nothing more than the mur- 
murs of peevifhnefs, or the dreams of dotage ; and 



notwithstanding all the documents of hoary wifdom, 
we commonly plunge into the world fearlefs and cre- 
dulous, without any forefight of danger, or appre- 
henfion of deceit. 

I have remarked, in a former paper, that credulity 
is the common failing of unexperienced virtue ; and 
that he who is fpontaneoufly fufpicious, may be juftly 
charged with radical corruption ; for if he has not 
known the prevalence of difhonefty by information, 
nor had time to obferve it with his own eyes> 
whence can he take his meafures of judgment but 
from himfelf ? 

They who beft deferve to efcape the fnares of arti- 
fice, are moft likely to be entangled. He that en- 
deavours to live for the good of others, mult always 
be expofed to the arts of them who live only for 
themfelves, unlefs he is taught by timely precepts 
the caution required in common tranfadtions, and 
ihewn at a diflance the pitfals of treachery. 

To youth, therefore, it fhould be carefully incul- 
cated, that to enter the road of life without caution 
or referve, in expectation of general fidelity and 
juftice, is to launch on the wide ocean without the 
inftruments of fteerage, and to hope, that every wind 
will be profperous, and that every coalt will afford a 

To enumerate the various motives to deceit and 
injury, would be to count all the defires that pre- 
vail- among the fons of men; fince there is no 
ambition however petty, no wifh however abfurd, 
that by indulgence will not be enabled to over- 
power the influence of virtue. Many there are, 
who openly and almoft profefledly regulate all their 


N 175. THE RAMBLER. 209 

conduft by their love of money j who have no reafon 
for action or forbearance, for compliance or refufal, 
than that they hope to gain more by one than by the 
other. Thefe are indeed the meaneft and crueleft of 
human beings, a race with whom, as with fome pef- 
tiferous animals, the whole creation feems to be at 
war; but who, however detefted or fcorned, long 
continue to add heap to heap, and when they have 
reduced one to beggary, are ftill permitted to faften 
on another. 

Others, yet lefs rationally wicked, pafs their lives 
in mifchief, becaufe they cannot bear the fight of 
fuccefs, and mark out every man for hatred, whole 
fame or fortune they believe increafing. 

Many, who have not advanced to thefe degrees of 
guilt, are yet wholly unqualified for friendfhip, and 
unable to maintain any conftant or regular courfe of 
kindnefs. Happinefs may be deftroyed not only by 
union with the man who is apparently the flave of 
intereft, but with him whom a wild opinion of the 
dignity of perfeverance, in whatever caufe, difpofes 
to purfue every injury with unwearied and perpetual 
refentment; with him whofe vanity inclines him to 
confider every man as a. rival in every pretenfion ; 
with him whofe airy negligence puts his friend's 
affairs or fecrets in continual hazard, and who thinks 
his forgetfulnefs of others excufed by his inattention 
to himfelf ; and with him whofe inconftancy ranges 
without any fettled rule of choice through varieties of 
friendfhip, 'and who adopts and difmifTes favourites 
by the fudden impulfe of caprice. 

Thus numerous are the dangers to which the con- 
vert of mankind expofes us, and which can be 

VOL, VI. P avoided 

no THE RAMBLER. N 176. 

avoided only by prudent diftruft. He therefore, that 
remembering this falutary maxim learns early to 
withhold his fondnefs from fair appearances, will 
have reafon to pay fome honours to Bias of Priene, 
who enabled him to become wife without the coft of 

NUMB. 176. SATURDAY, November 23, 1751. 

Nafo fi'fpendere adunco. Ho R . 

On me you turn the nofe. 

THERE are many vexatious accidents and 
uneafy fituations which raife little compaffion 
for the fufferer, and which no man but thofe whom 
they immediately diftrefs, can regard with ferioufnefs. 
Petty mifchiefs, that have no influence on futurity, 
nor extend their effects to the reft of life, are always 
feen with a kind of malicious pleafure. A miftake 
or embarraffment, which for the prefent moment fills 
the face with blufhes, and the mind with confufion, 
will have no other effect upon thofe who obferve it 
than that of convulfing them with irrefiflible laugh- 
ter. Some circumftances of mifery are fo powerfully 
ridiculous, that neither kindnefs nor duty can with- 
ftand them ; they bear down love, intereft, and re- 
verence, and force the friend, the dependent, or 
the child, to give way to inftantaneous motions of 

Among the principal of comick calamities, may 
be reckoned the pain which an author, not yec 


N 176. THE RAMBLER. 211 

hardened into infenfibility, feels at the onfet of a fu- 
rious critick, whole age, rank, or fortune, gives him 
confidence to fpeak without referve j who heaps one 
objection upon another, and obtrudes his remarks, 
and enforces his corrections without tendernefs or 

The author, full of the importance of his work, 
and anxious for the j unification of every fy liable, Harts 
and kindles at the flighteft attack j the critick, eager 
to eftablifa his fuperiority, triumphing in every dif- 
covery of failure, and zealous to imprefs the cogency 
of his arguments, purfues him from line to line with- 
out ceflfation or remorfe. The critick, who hazards 
little, proceeds with vehemence, impetuofity, and 
fearleffnefs ; the author, whofe quiet and fame, and 
life and immortality, are involved in the controverfy, 
tries every art of fubterfuge and defence ; maintains 
modeftly what he refolves never to yield, and yields 
unwillingly what cannot be maintained. The critick's 
purpofe is to conquer, the author only hopes to 
efcape ; the critick therefore knits his brow, and raifes 
his voice, and rejoices whenever he perceives any 
tokens of pain excited by the preffure of his afler- 
tions, or the point of his farcafms. The author, 
whofe endeavour is at once to mollify and elude his 
perfecutor, compofes his features arid foftens his ac- 
cent, breaks the force of afTault by retreat, and rather 
fteps afide than files or advances. 

As it very feldom happens that the rage of extem- 
porary criticifm inflicts fatal or lafting wounds, I 
know not that tlie laws of benevolence entitle this 
diftrefs to much fympathy. The diverlion of bait- 
ing an author has the fanction of all ages and nations, 

P 2 and 

212 THE RAMBLER. N 176. 

and is more lawful than the fport of teizing other 
animals, becaufe, for the moft part, he comes vo- 
luntarily to the flake, furnifhed, as he imagines, by 
the patron powers of literature, with refiftlefs 
weapons, and impenetrable armour, with the mail 
of the boar of Erymanth y and the paws of the lion of 

But the works of genius are fometimes produced 
by other motives than vanity ; and he whom necef- 
fity or duty enforces to write, is not always fo well 
fatisfied with himfelf, as not to be difcouraged by 
cenforious impudence. It may therefore be necefiary 
to confider how they whom publication lays open to 
the infults of fuch as their obfcurity fecures againft 
reprifals, may extricate themfelves from unexpected 

Vida> a man of confiderable fkill in the politicks 
of literature, directs his pupil wholly to abandon his 
defence, and even when he can irrefragably refute 
all objections, to fuffer tamely the exultations of his 

This rule may perhaps be juft, when advice is 
afked, and feverity folicited, becaufe no man tells 
his opinion fo freely as when he imagines it received 
with implicit veneration ; and criticks ought never 
to be confulted, but while errors may yet be rectified 
or infipidity fupprefTed. But when the book has 
once been difmifTed into the world, and can be no 
more retouched, I know not whether a very different 
conduct fhould not be prefcribed, and whether firm- 
nefs and fpirit may not fometimes be of ufe to over- 
power arrogance and repel brutality. Softnefs, dif- 
fidence, and moderation, will often be miftaken for 


N 176. THE RAMBLER. 213 

imbecility and dejection ; they lure cowardice to the 
attack by the hopes of eafy victory, and it will foon 
be found that he whom every man thinks he can 
conquer, fhall never be at peace. 

The animadverfions of criticks are commonly fuch 
as may eafily provoke the fedateft writer to fome 
quicknefs of refentment and afperity of reply. A man 
who by long confideration has familiarifed a fubject 
to his own mind, carefully furveyed the feries of his 
thoughts, and planned all the parts of his compofi- 
tion into a regular dependance on each other, will 
often flart at the finiftrous interpretations, or abfurd 
remarks of hafte and ignorance, and wonder by what 
infatuation they have been led away from the obvious 
fenfe, and upon what peculiar principles of judgment 
they decide againft him. 

The eye of the intellect, like that of the body, is 
not equally perfect in all, nor equally adapted in any 
to all objects j the end of criticifm is to fupply its 
defects j rules are the inftruments of mental vifion, 
which may indeed affift our faculties when properly 
ufed, but produce confufion and obfcurity by unfkil- 
ful application. 

Some feem always to read with the microfcope of 
criticifm, and employ their whole attention upon 
minute elegance, or faults fcarcely vifible to com- 
mon obfervation. The diffonance of a fyllable, the 
recurrence of the fame found, the repetition of a 
particle, the fmallefl deviation from propriety, the 
flighted defect in conftruction or arrangement, fwell 
before their eyes into enormities. As they difcern 
with great exactnefs, they comprehend but a narrow 
compafs, and know nothing of the juftnefs of the* 

P 3 defign, 

214 THE RAMBLER. N* 176. 

defign, the general fpirit of the performance, the ar- 
tifice of connection, or the harmony of the parts ; 
they never conceive how fmall a proportion that 
which they are bufy in contemplating bears to the 
whole, or how the petty inaccuracies with which 
they are offended, are abforbed and loft in general 

Others are furnifhed by criticifm with a telefcope. 
They fee with great clearnefs whatever is too remote 
to be difcovered by the reft of mankind, but are 
totally blind to all that lies immediately before them. 
They difcover in every pafTage fome fecret meaning, 
fome remote allufion, fome artful allegory, or fome 
occult imitation which no other reader ever fuf- 
pected j but they have no perception of the cogency 
of arguments, the force of pathetick fentiments, the 
various colours of diction, or the flowery embellifh- 
ments of fancy ; of all that engages the attention of 
others, they are totally infenfible, while they pry into 
worlds of conjecture, and amufe themfelves with 
phantoms in the clouds. 

In criticifm, as in every other art, we fail fome- 
times by our weaknefs, but more frequently by our 
fault. We are fometimes bewildered by ignorance, 
and fometimes by prejudice, but we feldom deviate 
far from the right, but when we deliver ourfelves up 
to the direction of vanity. 

Ni77- THE RAMBLER. 215 

NUMB. 177. TUESDAY, November 26 y 1751. 

T"urfe efl difficile s habere nugas. MART. 

Thofe things which now feem frivolous and flight, 

Will be of ferious confequence to you, 

When they have made you once ridiculous. ROSCOMMOX. 

To the RAMBLER. 


WH E N I was, at the ufual time, about to 
enter upon the profefiion to which my friends 
had deftined me, being fummoned, by the death of 
my father, into the country, I found myfelf mailer 
of an unexpected fum of money, and of an eftate, 
which though not large, was, in my opinion, fuf- 
ficient to fupport me in a condition far preferable to 
the fatigue, dependance, and uncertainty of any gain- 
ful occupation. I therefore refolved to devote the reft 
of my life wholly to curiofity, and without any con- 
finement of my excurfionr, or termination of my 
views, to wander over the boundlefs regions of gene- 
ral knowledge. 

This fcheme of life feemed pregnant with inex- 
hauftible variety, and therefore I could not forbear 
to congratulate myfelf upon the wifdom of my choice. 
I furniihed a large room with all conveniences for 
ftudy j collected books of every kind; quitted every 
fcience at the firft perception of difguft ; returned 
to it again as foon as my former ardour happened to 

P 4 revive i 


revive j and having no rival to deprefs me by com- 
parifon, nor any critick to alarm me with objec- 
tions, I fpent day after day in profound tranquillity, 
with only fo much complacence in my own impr6ve- 
ments, as ferved to excite and animate my appli- 

Thus I lived for fome years with complete ac- 
quiefcence in my own plan of conduct, rifmg early 
to read, and dividing the latter part of the day be- 
tween economy, exercife, and reflection. But in 
time, I began to find my mind contracted and 
ftiffened by folitude. My eafe and elegance were 
fenfibly impaired ; I was no longer able to accom- 
modate myfelf with readinefs to the accidental cur- 
rent of converfation ; my notions grew particular and 
paradoxical, and my phrafeology formal and un- 
fafhionable ; I fpoke, on common occafions, the 
language of books. My quicknefs of apprehenfion, 
and celerity of reply, had entirely deferted me : 
when I delivered my opinion, or detailed my know- 
ledge, I was bewildered by an unfeafonable interro- 
gatory, difconcerted by any flight oppofition, and 
overwhelmed and loft in dejection, when the fmalleft 
advantage was gained againft me in difpute. I be- 
came decifive and dogmatical, impatient of contra- 
diction, perpetually jealous of my character, in- 
folent to fuch as acknowledged my fuperiority, and 
fullen and malignant to all who refufed to receive my 

This I foon difcovered to be one of thofe intel- 
lectual difeafes which a wife man fhould make hafte 
to cure. I therefore refolved for a time to fhut my 


Ni77- THE RAMBLER. 217 

books, and learn again the art of converfation ; to 
defecate and clear my mind by brifker motions, and 
ftronger impulfes j and to unite myfelf once more to 
the living generation. 

For this purpofe I hafted to London, and en- 
treated one of my academical acquaintances, to in- 
troduce me into fome of the little focieties of litera- 
ture, which are formed in taverns and cofFee-houfes. 
He was pleafed with an opportunity of fhewing me 
to his friends, and foon obtained me admiilion 
among a felect company of curious men, who met 
once a week to exhilarate their ftudies, and compare 
their acquifitions. 

The eldeft and mod venerable of this fociety 
was Hirfutus, who, after the firft civilities of my 
reception, found means to introduce the mention 
of his favourite ftudies, by a fevere cenfure of 
thofe who want the due regard for their native 
country. He informed me, that he had early 
withdrawn his attention from foreign trifles, and 
that fince he begun to addict his mind to ferious 
and manly ftudies, he had very carefully amafled 
all the Engliflj books that were printed in the black 
character. This fearch he had purfued fo dili- 
gently, that he was able to fhew the deficiencies of 
the belt catalogues. He had long fince completed 
his Caxton, had three fheets of I'reveris unknown 
to the antiquaries, and wanted to a perfect Pynfon 
but two volumes, of which one was promifed him 
as a legacy by its prefent pofieiTor, and the other 
he was refolved to buy, at whatever price, when 
^ library fhould be fold. Hirfutus had 


ai* THE RAMBLER. N 177. 

no other reafbn for the valuing or flighting a book, 
than that it was printed in the Rofaan or the Gothick 
letter, nor any ideas but fuch as his favourite volumes 
had fupplied -, when he was ferious, he expatiated on 
the narratives otjohan de Trevifa, and when he was 
merry, regaled us with a quotation from the Shippe of 

While I was liftening to this hoary fcudent, Per- 
ratus entered in a hurry, and informed us with the 
abruptnefs of extafy, that his fet of halfpence was 
now complete ; he had juft received in a handful of 
change, the piece that he had fo long been feeking, 
and could now defy mankind to outgo his collection 
of Englijh copper. 

Chartophylax then obferved how fatally human fa- 
gacity was fometimes baffled, and how often the moft 
valuable difcoveries are made by chance. He had 
employed himfelf and his emiflaries feven years at 
great expence, to perfect his feries of Gazettes, but 
had long wanted a fingle paper, which, when he 
defpaired of obtaining it, was fent him wrapped round 
a parcel of tobacco. 

Cantilenus turned all his thoughts upon old ballads, 
for he confidered them as the genuine records of the 
national tafte. He offered to fhevv me a copy of 
The Children in the Wood y which he firmly believed 
to be of the nrft edition, and by the help of which, 
the text might be freed from feveral corruptions, if 
this age of barbarity had any claim to fuch favours 
from him. 

Many were admitted into this fociety as inferior 
members, becaufe they had collected old prints and 


N a 177. THE RAMBLER. 

neglected pamphlets, or poffeffed fome fragment of 
antiquity, as the feal of an ancient corporation, the 
charter of a religious houfe, the genealogy of a 
family extinct, or a letter written in the reign of 

Every one of thefe virtuofos looked on all his 
aflbciates as wretches of depraved tafte and narrow 
notions. Their converfation was, therefore, fretful 
and wafpifh, their behaviour brutal, their merrimenn 
bluntly farcaftick, and their ferioufnefs gloomy and 
fufpicious. They were totally ignorant of all that 
pafles, or has lately palled in the world ; unable to 
difcufs any queftion of religious, political, or mili- 
tary knowledge ; equally ftrangers to fcience and po- 
liter learning, and without any wifh to improve their 
minds, or any other pleafure than that of difplaying 
rarities, of which they would not fuffer others to 
make the proper ufe. 

Hirfutus gracioufly informed me, that the num- 
ber of their fociety was limited, but that I might 
fometimes attend as an auditor. I was pleafed to 
find myfelf in no danger of an honour, which I 
could not have willingly accepted, nor gracefully 
,refufed, and left them without any intention of re- 
turning, for I foon found, that the fupprefllon of 
thofe habits with which I was vitiated, required af- 
fociation with men very different from this folemn 

I am, SIR, &c. 



fiao THE RAMBLER. N* 177. 

It is natural to feel grief or indignation, when any 
thing necefiary or ufeful is wantonly wafted, or ne- 
gligently deftroyed ; and therefore my correfpondent 
cannot be blamed for looking with uneafmefs on the 
wafte of life. Leifure and curiofity might foon make 
great advances in ufeful knowledge, were they not 
diverted by minute emulation and laborious trifles. 
It may, however, fomewhat mollify his anger to re- 
flect, that perhaps none of the afiembiy which he 
defences, was capable of any nobler employment, 
and that he who does his beft, however little, is al- 
ways to be diftinguiihed from him who does nothing. 
Whatever bufies the mind without corrupting it, 
has at leaft this ufe, that it refcues the day from 
idlenefs, and he that is never idle will not often be 

Ni7'8. THE RAMBLER. 22 i 

NUMB. 178. SATURDAY, Novembef 30, 1751. 

Pars fanitatis <velle fanariafuit, S E N E c A . 

To yield to remedies is half the cure. 

pTTHAGORAS is reported to have required from 
thofe whom he inftructed in philofophy a proba- 
tionary filence of five years. Whether this prohibi- 
tion of fpeech extended to all the parts of this time, 
as feems generally to be fuppofed, or was to be ob- 
ferved only in the fchool or in the prefence of their 
mafter, as is more probable, it was fufficient to dif- 
cover the pupil's difpofition ; to try whether he was 
willing to pay the price of learning, or whether he 
was one of thofe whofe ardour was rather violent than 
lading, and who expected to grow wife on other 
terms than thofe of patience and obedience. 

Many of the bleffings univerfally defired, are very 
frequently wanted, becaufe moft men, when they 
fhould labour, content themfelves to complain, and 
rather linger in a ftate in which they cannot be at reft, 
than improve their condition by vigour and refolu- 

Providence has fixed the limits of human enjoy- 
ment by immoveable boundaries, and has fct different 
gratifications at fuch a diftance from each other, that 
no art or power can bring them together. This great 
law it is the bufinefs of every rational being to un- 
derftand, that life may not pafs away in an attempt 
to make contradictions confiftent, to combine oppo- 


22* THE RAMBLER. N 178. 

lite qualities, and to unite things which the nature of 
their being muft always keep afunder. 

Of two objects tempting at a diftance on contrary 
fides, it is impofiible to approach one but by receding 
from the other; by long deliberation and dilatory 
projects, they may be both loft, but can never be 
both gained. It is, therefore, neceiTary to compare 
them, and when we have determined the preference, 
to withdraw our eyes and our thoughts at once from 
that which reafon directs us to reject. This is more 
neceflary, if that which we are forfaking has the 
power of delighting the fenfes, or firing the fancy. 
He that once turns afide to the allurements of un- 
lawful pleafure, can have no fecurity that he fhall 
ever regain the paths of virtue. 

The philofophick goddefs of Boethius, having re- 
lated the ftory of Orpheus, who, when he had reco- 
vered his wife from the dominions of death, loft her 
again by looking back upon her in the confines of 
light, concludes with a very elegant and forcible ap- 
plication. Whoever you are that endeavour to elevate 
your minds to the illuminations of Heaven, confideryour- 
Jelves as reprejented in this fable ; for he that is oncejb 
far overcome as to turn back his eyes towards the infer- 
nal caverns, lofes at the firft fight all that influence 
which at traced him on high. 

Vos haec fabula refpicit, 
Quicunque in fuperum diem 
Mentem ducere qureritis. 
Nam qui Tartareum in fpecus 
Viclus lumina flcxerit, 
Quidquid prxcipuum truhit, 
Perdit, dum videt inferos. 


N 178. THE RAMBLER. 223 

It may be obferved in general, that the future is 
purchafed by the prefent. It is not poffible to fecnre 
diftant or permanent happinefs but by the forbearance 
of fome immediate gratification. This is fo evi- 
dently true with regard to the whole of our exigence, 
that all the precepts of theology have no other ten- 
dency than to enforce a life of faith ; a life regulated 
not by our fenfes but our belief} a life in which 
pleafures are to be refufed for fear of invifible pu- 
nifhments, and calamities fometimes to be fought, 
and always endured, in hope of rewards that fhall be 
obtained in another ftate. 

Even if we take into our view only that particle of 
our duration which is terminated by the grave, it will 
be found that we cannot enjoy one part of life be- 
yond the common limitations of pleafure, but by an- 
ticipating fome of the fatisfaction which fhould exhi- 
larate the following years. The heat of youth may 
fpread happinefs into wild luxuriance, brut the radical 
vigour requifite to make it perennial is exhaufted, 
and all that can be hoped afterwards is languor and 

The reigning error of mankind is, that we are nor 
content with the conditions on which the goods of 
life are granted. No man is infenfible of the value 
of knowledge, the advantages of health, or the con- 
venience of plenty, but every day fhews us thofe- on 
whom the conviction is without effect. 

Knowledge is praifed and defired by multitudes 
whom her charms could never roufe from the couch 
of floth ; whom the fainteft invitation of pleafure 
draws away from their fludies -, to whom any other 
method of wearing out the day is more eligible than 


224 THE RAMBLER. N" 178. 

the life of books, and who are more eafily engaged 
by any converfation, than fuch as may rectify their 
notions or enlarge their comprehenfion. 

Every man that has felt pain, knows how little all 
other comforts can gladden him to whom health is 
denied. Yet who is there does not fometimes hazard 
it for the enjoyment of an hour ? All afiemblies of 
jollity, all places of publick entertainment, exhibit 
examples of ftrength wafting in riot, and beauty 
withering in irregularity; nor is it eafy to enter a 
houfe in which part of the family is not groaning in 
repentance of pad intemperance, and part admitting 
dileafe by negligence, or foliciting it by luxury. 

There is no pleafure which men of every age and 
feet have more generally agreed to mention with con- 
tempt, than the gratifications of the palate ; an enter- 
tainment fo far removed from intellectual happinefs, 
that fcarcely the moft fhamelefs of the fenfual herd 
have dared to defend it : yet even to this, the loweft 
of our delights, to this, though neither quick nor 
lading, is health with all its activity and fprightlinefs 
daily facrificed ; and for this are half the miferies en- 
dured which urge impatience to call on death. 

The whole world is put in motion by the wilh for 
riches, and the dread of poverty. Who, then, would 
not imagine that fuch conduct as will inevitably de- 
ftroy what all are thus labouring to acquire, mult 
generally be avoided ? That he who fpends more 
than he receives, muft in time become indigent, can- 
not be doubted j but how evident foever this confe- 
quence may appear, the fpendthrift moves in the whirl 
of pleafure with too much rapidity to keep it before 
his eyes, and, in the intoxication of gaiety, grows 


N<M78. THE RAMBLER. 225 

every day poorer without any fuch fenfe of approach- 
ing ruin as is fufficient to wake him into caution. 

Many complaints are made of the mifery of life ; 
and indeed it muft be confeffed that we are fubject to 
calamities by which the good and bad, the diligent 
and flothful, the vigilant and heedlefs, are equally 
afflicted. But furely, though fome indulgence may 
be allowed to groans extorted by inevitable mifery, 
no man has a right to repine at evils which, againft 
warning, againft experience, he deliberately and lei- 
furely brings upon his own head j or to confider him- 
felf as debarred from happinefs by fuch obftacles as 
refolution may break, or dexterity may put afide. 

Great numbers who quarrel with their condition, 
have wanted not the power but the will to obtain a 
better ftate. They have never contemplated the dif- 
ference between good and evil quicken 
averfion, or invigorate defire ; they have indulged a 
drowfy thoughtleflhefs or giddy levity; have com- 
mitted the balance of choice to the management of 
caprice j and when they have long accuftomed them- 
felves to receive all that chance offered them, with- 
out examination, lament at laft that they find them- 
lelves deceived. 



NUMB. 179. TUESDAY, December 3, 1751. 

Perpetuo rifu pulmonem agitarefolebat. J u Y. 

Democritus would feed his fpleen, and fbake 

His fides and fhoulders till lie felt them ake. DRYDEN. 

EVERY man, fays Tally, has two characters ; 
one which he partakes with all mankind, and 
by which he is diftinguifhed from brute animals ; 
another which difcriminates him from the reft of his 
own fpecies, and imprefies on him a manner and 
temper peculiar to himfelf j this particular character, 
if it be not repugnant to the laws of general hu- 
manity, it is always his bufmefs to cultivate and pre- 

Every hour furnifhes fome confirmation of TW/y's 
precept. It feldom happens, that an afiembly of 
pleafure is fo happily felected, but that fome one finds 
admiffion, with whom the reft are defervedly offend- 
ed ; and it will appear, on a clofe infpection, that 
fcarce any man becomes eminently difagreeable, but 
by a departure from his real character, and an attempt 
at fomething for which nature or education have left 
him unqualified. 

Ignorance or dulnefs have indeed no power of 
affording delight, but they never give difguft except 
when they aflume the dignity of knowledge, or ape 
the fprightlinefs of wit. Awkwardnefs and inelegance 
have none of thofe attractions by which eafe and po- 
lirenefs take pofTefiion of the heart -, but ridicule and 


N 179. ' THE RAMBLER. 227 

cenfure feldom rile againft them, unlefs they appear 
afibciated with that confidence which belongs only 
to long acquaintance with the modes of life, and to 
confcioufnefs of unfailing propriety of behaviour. 
Deformity itfelf is regarded with tendernefs rather 
than averfion, when it does not attempt to deceive 
the fight by drefs and decoration, and to feize upon 
fictitious claims the prerogatives of beauty. 

He that (lands to contemplate the crowds that fill 
the flreets of a populous city, will fee many paflfen- 
gers whofe air and motion it will be difficult to be- 
hold without contempt and laughter ; but if he exa- 
mines what are the appearances that thus powerfully 
excite his rifibility, he will find among them neither 
poverty nor difeafe, nor any involuntary or painful 
defect. The difpofition to derifion and infult is 
awakened by the foftnefs of foppery, the fwell of 
infolence, the livelinefs of levity, or the folemnity 
of grandeur-, by the fprightly trip, the ftately (talk, 
the formal ftrut, and the lofty mien ; by geftures 
intended to catch the eye, and by looks elaborately 
formed as evidences of importance. 

It has, I think, been fometimes urged in favour of 
affectation, that it is only a miftake of the means to 
a good end, and that the intention with which it is 
practifed is always to pleafe. If all attempts to in- 
novate the conftitutional or habitual character have 
really proceeded from publick fpirit and love of 
others, the world has hitherto been fufficiently un- 
grateful, fince no return but fcorn has yet been made 
to the mod difficult of all enterprizes, a conteft with 
nature ; nor has any pity been Ihown to the fatigues 


223 THE RAMBLER. N 179. 

of labour which never fucceeded, and the uneafmefs 
of difguife by which nothing was concealed. 

It teems therefore to be determined by the gene- 
ral fuffrage of mankind, that he who decks himfelf 
in adfcititious qualities rather purpofes to command 
applaufe than impart pleafure ; and he is therefore 
treated as a man who by an unreafonable ambition 
ufurps the place in fociety to which he has no right. 
Praife is feldom paid with willingnefs even to incon- 
teftible merit, and it can be no wonder that he who 
calls for it without defert is repulfed with univerfal 

Affectation naturally counterfeits thofe excellen- 
cies which are placed at the greateft diflance from 
pofiibility of attainment. We are confcious of our 
own defecls, and eagerly endeavour to fupply them 
by artificial excellence ; nor would fuch efforts be 
wholly without excufe, were they not often excited 
by ornamental trifles, which he, that thus anxioufly 
ftruggles for the reputation of pofieffing them, would 
not have been known to want, had not his induftry 
quickened obfervation. 

Gelafimus paffed the firft part of his life in acade- 
mical privacy and rural retirement, without any other 
converfation than that of fcholars, grave, ftudious, 
and abftrafted as himfelf. He cultivated the mathe- 
matical fciences with indefatigable diligence, difco- 
vered many ufeful theorems, difcuffed with great 
accuracy the refiftance of fluids, and though his 
priority was not generally acknowledged, was the 
firft who fully explained all the properties of the 
catenarian curve. 


N 179. THE RAMBLER. 229 

Learning, when it rifes to eminence, will be ob- 
ferved in time, whatever mifts may happen to fur- 
round it. Gela/imuSj in his forty-ninth year, was 
diftinguiihed by thofe who have the rewards of know- 
ledge in their hands, and called out to difplay his 
acquifitions for the honour of his country, and add 
dignity by his preience to philofophical afiemblies. 
As he did not fufpect his unfitnefs for common af- 
fairs, he felt no reluctance to obey the invitation, 
and what he did not feel he had yet too much ho- 
nefty to feign. He entered into the world as a larger 
and more populous college, where his performances 
would be more publick, and his renown farther ex- 
tended j and imagined that he fhould find his repu- 
tation univerfally prevalent, and the influence of 
learning every where the fame. 

His merit introduced him to fplendid tables and 
elegant acquaintance; but he did not find himfelf 
always qualified to join in the converfation. He 
was diftrefied by civilities, which he knew not how 
to repay, and entangled in many ceremonial per- 
plexities, from which his books and diagrams could 
not extricate him. He was fometimes unluckily en- 
gaged in difputes with ladies, with whom algebraic 
axioms had no great weight, and faw many whofe 
favour and efteem he could not but defire, to whom 
he was very little recommended by his theories of 
the tides, or his approximations to the quadrature 
of the circle. 

Gelafimus did not want penetration to difcover, that 
no charm was more generally irrefiftible than that of 
eafy facetioufnefs and flowing hilarity. He faw that 
diverfion was more frequently welcome than improve- 

ment > 

230 THE RAMBLER. N 179. 

ment, that authority and ferioufnefs were rather feared 
than loved, and that the grave fcholar was a kind of 
imperious ally, haftily difmiffed when his afliftance 
was no longer neceffary. He came to a fudden re- 
folution of throwing off thofe cumbrous ornaments 
of learning which hindered his reception, and com- 
menced a man of wit and jocularity. Utterly un- 
acquainted with every topick of merriment, igno- 
rant of the modes and follies, the vices and virtues 
of mankind, and unfurnifhed with any ideas but 
fuch as Pappus and Archimedes had given him, he 
began to filence all enquiries with a jeft inftead of 
a folution, extended his face with a grin, which he 
miftook for a fmile, and in the place of a fcientifick 
difcourfe, retailed in a new language, formed be- 
tween the college and the tavern, the intelligence of 
the news-paper. 

Laughter, he knew, was a token of alacrity -, and, 
therefore, whatever he faid or heard, he was careful 
not to fail in that great duty of a wit. If he afked 
or told the hour of the day, if he complained of 
heat or cold, ftirred the fire, or filled a glafs, re- 
moved his chair, or fnuffed a candle, he always 
found fome occafion to laugh. The jeft was indeed 
a fecret to all but himfelf; but habitual confidence 
in his own difcernment, hindered him from fufpefl- 
ing any weaknefs or miftake. He wondered that 
his wit was fo little underftood, but expected that 
his audience would comprehend it by degrees, and 
perfifted all his life to fhow by grols buffoonery, 
how little the ftrongeft faculties can perform be- 
yond the limits of their own province. 

N 1 80. THE RAMBLER. 231 

NUMB. 1 80. SATURDAY, December 7, 1751 

Tatar EiJo>? <7c<poj ic- 

Ilti TO XfW Vr<ij ItJ Tt>6? povct^;;. Au TOME DON. 

On life, on morals, be thy thoughts employ'd ; 
Leave to the fchools their atoms and their void. 

IT is fomewhere related by Le Clerc> that a wealthy 
trader of good underftanding, having the com- 
mon ambition to breed his fon a fcholar, carried 
him to an univerfity, refolving to ufe his own judg- 
ment in the choice of a tutor. He had been taught, 
by whatever intelligence, the neareft way to the 
heart of an academick, and at his arrival enter- 
tained all who came about him with fuch profufion^ 
that the profeflbrs were lured by the fmell of his 
table from their books, and flocked round him with 
all the cringes of awkward complaifance. This 
eagernefs anfwered the merchant's purpofe : he glut- 
ted them with delicacies, and foftened them with 
carefles, till he prevailed upon one after another 
to open his bofom, and make a difcovery of his 
competitions, jealoufies, and refentments. Hav- 
ing thus learned each man's character, partly from 
himfelf, and partly from his acquaintances, he re- 
folved to find fome other education for his fon, 
and went away convinced, that a fcholaftick life 
has no other tendency than to vitiate the morals, 
and contract the underftanding: Nor would he af- 
terwards hear with patience the praifes of the an- 


232 THE RAMBLER. N 180. 

cient authors, being perfuaded that fcholars of all 
ages muft have been the fame, and that Xenophon 
and Cicero were profefibrs of fome former univer- 
fity, and therefore mean and felfifh, ignorant and 
fervile, like thofe whom he had lately vifited and 

Envy, curiofity, and a fenfe of the imperfection 
of our prefent ftate, incline us to eftimate the ad- 
vantages which are in the pofleffion of others above 
their real value. Every one muft have remarked* 
what powers and prerogatives the vulgar imagine 
to be conferred by learning. A man of fcience is 
expected to excel the unlettered and unenlightened 
even on occafions where literature is of no ufe, and 
among weak minds, lofes part of his reverence, by 
difcovering no fuperiority in thofe parts of life, in 
v/hich all are unavoidably equal j as when a mo- 
narch makes a progrefs to the remoter provinces, 
the rufticks are faid fometimes to wonder that they 
find him of the fame fize with themfelves. 

Thefe demands of prejudice and folly can never 
be fatisfied j and therefore many of the imputations 
which learning fuffers from difappointed ignorance, 
are without reproach. But there are fome failures 
to which men of ftudy are peculiarly expofed. Everjr 
condition has its difadvantages. The circle of know- 
ledge is too wide for the moft adive and diligent 
intellecT;, and while fcience is purfued, other accom- 
plifliments are neglected -, as a fmall garriibn muft 
leave one part of an extenfive fortrefs naked ix when 
an alarm calls them to another. 

The learned, however, might generally fupport 
their dignity with more fuccefs^ if they fuffered not 


N 1 80. THE RAMBLER. 233 

themfelves to be milled by the defires of fuperfluous 
attainments. Raphael, in return to Adams enquiries 
into the courfes of the ilars, and the revolutions of 
heaven, counfels him to withdraw his mind from idle 
ipeculations, and employ his faculties upon nearer and 
more interefting objects, the furvey of his own life, 
the fubjection of his paffions, the knowledge of duties 
which mud daily be performed, and the detection of 
dangers which muft daily be incurred. 

This angelick counfel every man of letters fhould 
always have before him. He that devotes himfelf to 
retired ftudy, naturally finks from omiflion to forget- 
fulnefs of focial duties 3 he muft be therefore fome- 
times awakened, and recalled to the general condition 
of mankind. 

1 am far from any intention to limit curiofity, or 
confine the labours of learning to arts of immediate 
and neceflary ufe. It is only from the various efiays 
of experimental induftry, and the vague excurfions 
of minds fent out upon difcovery, that any advance- 
ment of knowledge can be expected, and though 
many muft be difappointed in their labours, yet they 
are not to be charged with having fpent their time 
in vain; their example contributed to infpire emu- 
lation, and their mifcarriages taught others the way 
to fuccefs. 

But the diftant hope of being one day ufeful or 
eminent, ought not to miflead us too far from that 
ftudy, which is equally requifite to the great and 
mean, to the celebrated and obfcure j the art of 
moderating the defires, of repreffing the appetites ; 
and of conciliating or retaining the favour of man- 


2^4 THE RAMBLER. Ni8o. 

No man can imagine the courfe of his own life, or 
the conduct of the world around him, unworthy his 
attention ; yet among the Ions of learning many feeru 
to have thought of every thing rather than of them- 
felves, and to have obferved every thing but what 
pafles before their eyes : Many who toil through the 
intricacy of complicated fyftems, are infuperably em- 
barrafled with the lead perplexity in common af. 
fairs j many who compare the actions, and afcertain 
the characters of ancient heroes, let their own days 
glide away without examination, and fuffer vicious 
habits to encroach upon their minds without refiit- 
ance or detection. 

The mod frequent reproach of the fcholaftick 
race is the want of fortitude, not martial but phi- 
lofophick. Men bred in fhades and filence, taught 
to immure themfelves at funfet, and accuftomed to 
no other weapon than fyllogifm, may be allowed to 
feel terror at perfonal danger, and to be dilconcerted 
by tumult and alarm. But why fhould he whofe life 
is fpent in contemplation, and whofe bufmefs is only 
to difcover truth, be unable to rectify the fallacies of 
imagination, or contend fuccefsfully againfl prejudice 
and paffion ? To what end has he read and medi- 
tated, if he gives up his underftanding to falfe appear- 
ances, and fuffers himfelf to be enflaved by fear qf 
evils to which only folly or vanity can expofe him, or 
elated by advantages to which, as they are equally 
conferred upon the good and badj no real dignity is 

Such, however, is the flate of the world, that the 
moft obfequious of the flaves of pride, the moil rap- 
turous of the gazers upon wealth, the moft officious 


Ni8o. THE RAMBLER. 235 

of the whifpers of greatnefs, are collected from femU 
naries appropriated to the ftudy of wifdom, and of 
virtue, where it was intended that appetite fhould 
learn to be content with little, and that hope fhould 
afpire only to honours which no human power can 
give or take away. 

The ftudent, when he comes forth into the world, 
inftead of congratulating himfelf upon his exemption 
from the errors of thofe whofe opinions have been 
formed by accident or cuftom, and who live without 
any certain principles of conduct, is commonly in 
hafte to mingle with the multitude, and fhew his 
fprightlinefs and ductility by an expeditious com- 
pliance with fafhions or vices. The firft fmile of a 
man, whofe fortune gives him . power to reward his 
dependants, commonly enchants him beyond refift- 
ance ; the glare of equipage, the fweets of luxury, 
the liberality of general promifes, the foftnefs of ha- 
bitual affability, fill his imagination ; and he foon 
ceafes to have any other wilh than to be well received, 
or any meafure of right and wrong but the opinion of 
his patron. 

A man flattered and obeyed, learns to exact grofler 
adulation, and enjoin lower fubmifllon. Neither 
our virtues nor vices are all our own. If there 
were no cowardice^ there would be little infolence ; 
pride cannot rife to any great degree, but by the 
concurrence of blandifhment or the fufferance of 
tamenefs. The wretch who would fhrink and crouch 
before one that fhould dart his eyes upon him with 
the fpirit of natural equality, becomes capricious 
and tyrannical when he fees himfelf approached with 
3 a down- 

2 3 6 THE RAMBLER. N 180. 

a downcaft look, and hears the foft addrefs of awe 
and fervility. To thofe who are willing to purchafe 
favour by cringes and compliance, is to be imputed 
the haughtinefs that leaves nothing to be hoped by 
firmnefs and integrity. 

If, inftead of wandering after the meteors of phi- 
lofophy, which fill the world with fplendour for a 
while, and then fink and are forgotten, the candi- 
dates of learning fixed their eyes upon the permanent 
luftre of moral and religious truth, they would find a 
more certain direction to happinefs. A little plaufi- 
bility of difcourfe, and acquaintance with unnecefTary 
Speculations, is dearly purchafed, when it excludes 
thofe inftructions which fortify the heart with refolu- 
tion, and exalt the fpirit to independence. 

Ni8i. THE RAMBLER. 237 

NUMB. 181. TUESDAY, December 10, 1751. 

Neujluttum dubitefpe pendulus honf. Ho R . 

Nor let me float in fortune's pow'r, 

Dependant on the future hour. FRANCIS. 

ft tie RAMBLER. 


AS I have paffed much of my life in difquiet 
and fufpenfe, and loft many opportunities of 
advantage by a paffion which I have reafon to believe 
prevalent in different degrees over a great part of 
mankind, I cannot but think myfelf well qualified to 
warn thofe who are yet uncaptivated, of the danger 
which they incur by placing themfelves within its 

I ferved an apprenticefhip to a linen-draper, with 
uncommon reputation for diligence and fidelity ; and 
at the age of three and twenty opened a fhop for my- 
felf with a large ftock, and fuch credit among all the 
merchants, who were acquainted with my mafter, that 
I could command whatever was imported curious or 
valuable. For five years I proceeded with fuccefs 
proportionate to clofe application and untainted inte- 
grity ; was a daring bidder at every fale ; always paid 
my notes before they were due j and advanced fo faft 
in commercial reputation, that I was proverbially 
marked out as the model of young traders, and every 
one expected that a few years would make me an 



In this courie of even profperity, I was one day 
perfuaded to buy a ticket in the lottery. The fum 
was inconfiderable, part was to be repaid though for- 
tune might fail to favour me, and therefore my efta- 
bliflied maxims of frugality did not reftrain me from 
ib trifling an experiment. The ticket lay almoft for- 
gotten till the time at which every man's fate was to 
be determined ; nor did the affair even then feem of 
any importance, till I difcovered by the publick pa- 
pers that the number next to mine had conferred the 
great prize. 

M-y heart leaped at the thought of fuch an ap- 
proach to fudden riches, which I confidered myfelf, 
however contrarily to the laws of computation, as 
having miffed by a fmgle chance ; and I could not 
forbear to revolve the confequences which fuch a 
bounteous allotment would have produced, if it had 
happened to me. This dream of felicity, by degrees, 
took pofieffion of my imagination. The great delight 
of my folitary hours was to purchafe an eftate, and 
form plantations with money which once might have 
been mine, and I never met my friends but I fpoiled 
all their merriment by perpetual complaints of my ill 

At length another lottery was opened, and I had 
now fo heated my imagination with the profpedl: of a 
prize, that I fhould have prefled among the firft pur- 
chafers, had not my ardour been withheld by delibe- 
ration upon the probability of fuccefs from one ticket 
rather than another. I hefitated long between even 
and odd; confidered the fquare and cubick num- 
bers through the lottery ; examined all thofe to which 
good luck had been hitherto annexed > and at laft 


N'iSi. THE RAMBLER. 239 

fixed upon one, which, by fome fecret relation to the 
events of my life, I thought predeftined to make me 
happy. Delay in great affairs is often mifchievous ; 
the ticket was fold, and its poffeflbr could not be 

I returned to my conjectures, and after many arts 
of prognoilication, fixed upon another chance, but 
with lefs confidence. Never did captive, heir, or 
lover, feel fo much vexation from the flow pace of 
time, as I fuffered between the purchafe of my ticket 
and the diftribution of the prizes. I folaced my un- 
eafinefs as well as I could, by frequent contempla- 
tions of approaching happinefs ; when the fun rofe I 
knew it would fet, and congratulated myfelf at night 
that I was fo much nearer to my wifhes. At laft the 
day came, my ticket appeared, and rewarded all 
my care and fagacity with a defpicable prize of fifty 

My friends, who honeftly rejoiced upon my fuc- 
eefs, were very coldly received; I hid myfelf a fort- 
night in the country, that my chagrin might fume 
away without obfervation, and then returning to my 
(hop, began to liften after another lottery. 

With the news of a lottery I was foon gratified, 
and having now found the vanity of conjecture and 
inefficacy of computation, I refolved to take the 
prize by violence, and therefore bought forty tickets, 
not omitting however to divrde them between the 
even and odd numbers, that I might not mifs the 
lucky clafs. Many conclufions did I form, and many 
experiments did I try to determine from which of 
thofe tickets I might mod reafonably expect riches. 
At laft, being unable to fatisfy myfelf by any modes 


240 THE RAMBLER. N 181. 

of reafbningj I wrote the numbers upon dice, and al- 
lotted five hours every day to the amufement of 
throwing them in a garret ; and examining the event 
by an exact regifter, found on the evening before the 
lottery was drawn, that one of my numbers had been 
turned up five times more than any of the reft in three 
hundred and thirty thoufand throws. 

This experiment was fallacious ; the firft day pre- 
fented the hopeful ticket, a deteftable blank. The 
reft came out with different fortune, and in conclu- 
fion I loft thirty pounds by this great adventure. 

I had now wholly changed the caft of my behavi- 
our and the conduct of my life. The {hop was for 
the moft part abandoned to my fervants, and if I en- 
tered it, my thoughts were fo engrofied by my tickets, 
that I fcarcely heard or anfwered a queftion, but con- 
iidered every cuftomer as an intruder upon my me- 
ditations, whom I was in hafte to difpatch. I mif- 
took the price of my goods, committed blunders in 
my bills, forgot to file my receipts, and neglected to 
regulate my books. My acquaintances by degrees 
began to fall away ; but I perceived the decline of 
my bufinefs with little emotion, becaufe whatever de- 
ficience there might be in my gains, I expected the 
next lottery to fupply. 

Mifcarriage naturally produces diffidence; I be- 
gan now to feek affiftance againft ill luck, by an alli- 
ance with thofe that had been more fuccefsful. I en- 
quired diligently at what office any prize had been 
fold, that I might purchafe of a propitious vender ; 
folicited thofe who had been fortunate in former lot- 
teries, to partake with me in my new tickets ; and 
whenever I met with one that had in any event of his 


N i8i. THE RAMBLER. 241 

life been eminently profperous, I invited him to take 
a larger (hare. I had, by this rule of conduft, fo dif- 
fufed my intereft, that I had a fourth part of fifteen 
tickets, an eighth of forty, and a fixteenth of ninety. 

I waited for the decifion of my fate with my for- 
mer palpitations, and looked upon the bufinefs of my 
trade with the ufual negleft. The wheel at laft was 
turned, and its revolutions brought me a long fuc- 
ceffion of forrows and difappointments. I indeed 
often partook of a fmall prize, and the lofs of one day 
was generally balanced by the gain of the next; but 
my defiies yet remained unfatisfied, and when one of 
my chances had failed, all my expectation was fuf- 
pended on thofe which remained yet undetermined. 
At laft a prize of five thoufand pounds was proclaim- 
ed ; I caught fire at the cry, and enquiring the num- 
ber, found it to be one of my own tickets, which I 
had divided among thofe on whofe luck I depended, 
and of which I had retained only a fixteenth part. 

You will eafily judge with what deteftation of him- 
felf, a man thus intent upon gain reflected that he had 
fold a prize which was once in his poiTelTion. It was 
to no purpofe, that I reprefented to my mind the im- 
poffibility of recalling the paft, or the folly of con- 
demning an aft, which only its event, an event which 
no human intelligence could forefee, proved to be 
wrong. The prize which, though put in my hands, 
had been fufFered to flip from me, filled me with 
anguifh, and knowing that complaint would only 
expofe me to ridicule, I gave myfelf up filently to 
grief, and loft by degrees my appetite and my reft. 

My indifpofition foon became vifible; I was vifited 
by my friends, and among them by Eumathes, a cler- 

VOL. VI. R gyman, 

S 4 2 THE RAMBLER. -N 181. 

gyman, whofe piety and learning gave him fuch an 
afcendant over me, that I could not refufe to open 
my heart. There are, faid he, few minds fufficiently 
firm to be trufted in the hands of chance. Whoever 
finds himfelf inclined to anticipate futurity, and exalt 
poflibility to certainty, fhould avoid every kind of 
cafual adventure, fince his grief mufl be always pro- 
portionate to his hope. You have long wafted that 
time, which, by a proper application, would have 
certainly, though moderately, increafed your fortune, 
in a laborious and anxious purfuit of a fpecies of gain, 
which no labour or anxiety, no art or expedient, can 
fecure or promote. You are now fretting away your 
life in repentance of an act, againft which repentance 
can give no caution, but to avoid the occafion of 
committing it. Roufe from this lazy dream of for- 
tuitous riches, which, if obtained, you could fcarcely 
have enjoyed, becaufe they could confer no confciouf- 
nefs of defert; return to rational and manly induftry, 
and confider the mere gift of luck as below the care 
of a wife man. 

Ni8l. THE RAMBLER. 243 

NUMB. 182. SATURDAY, December 14, 1751. 

-Dives quiferi vult t 

Et cito vultferi. JUVENAL. 

The luft of wealth can never bear delay. 

IT has been obferved in a late paper, that we are 
imreafonably defirous to feparate the goods of life 
from thofe evils which Providence has connected with 
them, and to catch advantages without paying the 
price at which they are offered us. Every man wi flies 
to be rich, but very few have the powers neceffary to 
raife a fudden fortune, either by new difcoveries, or 
by fuperiority of fkill, in any neceffary employment; 
and among lower underftandings, many want the 
firmnefs and induftry requifite to regular gain and 
gradual acquifitions. 

From the hope of enjoying affluence by methods 
more compendious than thofe of labour, and more 
generally practicable than thofe of genius, proceeds 
the common inclination to experiment and hazard, 
and that willingnefs to fnatch all opportunities of 
growing rich by chance, which, when it has once 
taken poffeffion of the mind, is feldom driven out 
either by time or argument, but continues to wafte 
life in perpetual delufion, and generally ends in 
wretchednefs and want. 

The folly of untimely exultation and vifionary pro- 

Iperity, is by no means peculiar to the purchafers of 

R 2 tickets ; 

244 THE R AMBLER. N 182, 

tickets; there are multitudes whofe life is nothing 
but a continual lottery ; who are always within a few 
months of plenty and happinefs, and how often fo- 
ever they are mocked with blanks, expect a prize 
from the next adventure. 

Among the moft refolute and ardent of the vota- 
ries of chance, may be numbered the mortals whofe 
hope is to raife themfelves by a wealthy match; who 
lay out all their induftry on the affiduities of court- 
fhip, and deep and wake with no other ideas than of 
treats, compliments, guardians, and rivals. 

One of the moft indefatigable of this clafs, is my 
old friend Levtculus, whom I have never known for 
thirty years without fome matrimonial project of ad- 
vantage. Leviculus was bred under a merchant, 
and by the graces of his perfon, the fprightlinefs of 
his prattle, and the neatnefs of his drefs, fo much 
enamoured his mafter's fecond daughter, a girl of 
fixteen, that fhe declared her refolution to have no 
other hufband. Her father, after having chidden 
her for undutifulnefs, confented to the match, not 
much to the fatisfaction of Leviculus y who was Suf- 
ficiently elated with his conqueft to think himfelf en- 
titled to a larger fortune. He was, however, foon 
rid of his perplexity, for his miftrefs died before their 

He was now fo well fatisfied with his own ac- 
cornplifhments, that he determined to commence 
fortune-hunter; and when his apprenticeship ex- 
pired, inftead of beginning, as was expected, to 
walk the exchange with a face of importance, or 
aflbciating himfelf with thofe who were moft emi- 
nent for their knowledge of the ftocks, he at once 


Ni82. THE RAMBLER. 245- 

threw off the folemnity of the counting-houfe, 
equipped himfelf with a modifh wig, liftened to 
wits in coffee- houfes, paffed his evenings behind 
the fcenes in the theatres, learned the names of 
beauties of quality, hummed the laft ftanzas of fa- 
ihionable fongs, talked with familiarity of high play, 
boafted of his achievements upon drawers and 
coachmen, was often brought to his lodgings at mid- 
night in a chair, told with negligence and jocularity 
of bilking a taylor, and now and then let fly a flirewd 
jeft at a fober citizen. 

Thus furnifhed with irrefiflible artillery, he turned 
his batteries upon the female world, and in the firlt 
warmth of felf-approbation, propofed no lefs than 
the pofTefllon of riches and beauty united. He 
therefore paid his civilities to Flavilla> the only 
daughter of a wealthy fhopkeeper, who not being 
accuftomed to amorous blandishments, or refpe<5tful 
addreffes, was delighted with the novelty of love 
and eafily fuffered him to conduct her to the play ? 
and to meet her where fhe vifited. Levlculus did 
not doubt but her father, however offended by a 
clandeltine marriage, would foon be reconciled by 
the tears of his daughter, and the merit of his fon-in- 
law, and was in hafte to conclude the affair. But 
the lady liked better to be courted than married, 
and kept him three years in uncertainty and attend- 
ance. At laft Ihe fell in love with a young enfign at 
a ball, and having danced with him all night, mar- 
ried him in the morning. 

Levitufaty to avoid the ridicule of his companions, 

took a journey to a fmall eftate in the country, 

where, after his ufual enquiries concerning the 

R 3 nymphs 


nymphs in the neighbourhood, he found it proper to 
fall in love with Altilia> a maiden lady, twenty years 
older than himfelf, for whofe favour fifteen nephews 
and nieces were in perpetual contention. They 
hovered round her with fuch jealous officioufnefs, 
as fcafcely left a moment vacant for a lover. Le- 
*uiculus, nevertheleis, difcovered his pafllon in a let- 
ter, and Altllia could not. withftand the pleafure of 
hearing vows and fighs, and flatteries and protefta- 
tions. She admitted his vifits, enjoyed for five years, 
the happinefs of keeping all her expectants in per- 
petual alarms, and amufed herfelf with the various 
ftratagems which were practifed to difengage her 
affections. Sometimes fhe was advifed with great 
earneflnefs to travel for her health, and fometimes 
intreated to keep her brother's houfe. Many ftories 
were fpread to the difadvantage of Leviculus, by 
which (he commonly feemed affected for a time, but 
took care foon afterwards to exprefs her conviction 
of their falfehood. But being at laft fatiated with 
this ludicrous tyranny, fhe told her lover, when he 
prefTed for the reward of his fervices, that fhe was 
very fenfible of his merit, but was refolved not to 
impoverifh an ancient family. 

He then returned to the town, and foon after his 
arrival became acquainted with Latrcnia, a lady dif- 
tinguifhed by the elegance of her equipage, and the 
regularity of her conduct. Her wealth was evident in 
her magnificence, and her prudence in her economy, 
and therefore Leviculus, who had icarcely confidence 
to folicit her favour, readily acquitted fortune of her 
former debts, when he found himfelf diftinguifhed by 
her with fuch marks of preference as a woman of 
3 modefty 

NO 182. THE RAMBLER. 247 

modefty is allowed to give. He now grew bolder, 
and ventured to breathe out his impatience before 
her. She heard him without refentment, in time 
permitted him to hope for happinefs, and at laft fixed 
the nuptial day, without any diftruftful referve of 
pin-money, or fordid ftipulations for jointure, and 

Leviculus was triumphing on the eve of marriage, 
when he heard on the ftairs the voice of Latronia's 
maid, whom frequent bribes had fecured in his fer- 
vice. She foon burft into his room, and told him 
that fhe could not fuffer him to be longer deceived ; 
that her miftrefs was now fpending the laft payment 
of her fortune, and was only fupported in her ex- 
pence by the credit of his eftate. Leviculus fhud- 
dered to fee himfelf fo near a precipice, and found 
that he was indebted for his efcape to the refentment 
of the maid, who, having afiifted Latronia to gain 
the conqueft, quarrelled with her at laft about the 

Leviculus was now hopelefs and difconfolate, till 
one Sunday he faw a Lady in the Mall, whom her 
drefs declared a widow, and whom* by the jolting 
prance of her gait, and the broad refplendence of 
her countenance, he guelfed to have lately buried 
ibme profperous citizen. He followed her home, 
and found her to be no lefs than the relict of Prune 
the grocer, who having no children, had bequeathed 
to her all his debts and dues, and his eftates real and 
perfonal. No formality was neceflfary in addrefling 
madam Prune, and therefore Leviculus went next 
morning without an introductor. His declaration 
was received with a loud laugh ; fhe then collected 

R 4 her 

248 THE RAMBLER. N 182. 

her countenance, wondered at his impudence, afked 
if he knew to whom he was talking, then {hewed 
him the door, and again laughed to find him con- 
fufed. Leviculus difcovered that this coarfenefs was 
nothing more than the coquetry of Cornhill, and 
next day returned to the attack. He foon grew 
familiar to her dialect, and in a few weeks heard, 
without any emotion, hints of gay clothes with 
empty pockets ; concurred in many fage remarks on 
the regard due to the people of property ; and agreed 
with her in deteftation of the ladies at the other end 
of the town, who pinched their bellies to buy fine 
laces, and then pretended to laugh at the city. 

He fometimes prefumed to mention marriage ; 
but was always anfwered with a flap, a hoot, and a 
flounce. At laft he began to prefs her clofer, and 
thought himfelf more favourably received; but 
going one morning, with a refolution to trifle no 
longer, he found her gone to church with a young 
journeyman from the neighbouring fhop, of whom 
fhe had become enamoured at her window. 

In thefe, and a thoufand intermediate adventures, 
has Lemculus fpent his time, till he is now grown 
grey with age, fatigue, and difappointment. He 
begins at laft to find that fuccefs is not to be ex- 
pected, and being unfit for any employment that 
might improve his fortune, and unfurnifhed with 
any arts that might amufe his leifure, is condemned 
to wear out a taftelefs life in narratives which few 
will hear, and complaints which none will pity. 

183. THE RAMBLER. 249 

NUMB. 183. TUESDAY, December 17, 1751. 

Nullafdes regnl fociis, omnifque potejlas 

Impatiens confortis erat. L u C A N . 

No faith of partnerihip dominion owns ; 
Still difcord hovers o'er divided thrones. 

TH E hoftility perpetually exercifed between one 
man and another, is caufed by the defire of 
many for that which only few can pofiefs. Every 
man would be rich, powerful, and famous ; yet fame, 
power, and riches, are only the names of relative 
conditions, which imply the obfcurity, dependance, 
and poverty of greater numbers. 

This univerfal and incefTant competition, produces 
injury and malice by two motives, intereft., and 
envy ; the profpect of adding to our porTeffions what 
we can take from others, and the hope of alleviating 
the fenfe of our difparity by leflening others, though 
we gain nothing to ourfelves. 

Of thefe two malignant and deftrudtive powers, 
it feems. probable at the firft view, that intereft has 
the ftrongeft and moft extenfive influence. It is 
eafy to conceive that opportunities to feize what has 
been long wanted, may excite defires almoft irrefift- 
ible j but furely the fame eagernefs cannot be kin- 
dled by an accidental power of deftroying that which 
gives happinefs to another. It muft be more 
natural to rob for gain, than to ravage only for 


5o THE RAMBLER. N 183. 

Yet I am inclined to believe, that the great law of 
mutual benevolence is oftener violated , by envy than 
by intereft, and that mod of the mifery which the 
defamation of blamelefs actions, or the obftruclion of 
honeft endeavours, brings upon the world, is in- 
flicked by men that propoie no advantage to them- 
felves but the fatisfaction of poifoning the banquet 
which they cannot tafte, and blalting the harveft 
which they have no right to reap. 

Intereft can diffufe itfelf but to a narrow compafs. 
The number is never large of thofe who can hope to 
fill the pofts of degraded power, catch the fragments 
of fhattered fortune, or fucceed to the honours of de- 
preciated beauty. But the empire of envy has no 
limits, as it requires to its influence very little help 
from external circumftances. Envy may always be 
produced by idlenefs and pride, and in what place 
will they not be found ? 

Intereft requires fome qualities not univerfally be- 
ftowed. The ruin of another will produce no profit 
to him who has not difcernment to mark his advan- 
tage, courage to feize, and activity to purfue it ; but 
the cold malignity of envy may be exerted in a torpid 
and quiefcent ftate, amidft the gloom of ftupidity, in 
the coverts of cowardice. He that falls by the attacks 
of intereft, is torn by hungry tigers j he may difcover 
and refift his enemies. He that periihes in the am- 
bufhes of envy, is deftroyed by unknown and invi- 
fible afTailants, and dies like a man fuffocated by a 
poifonous vapour, without knowledge of his danger, 
or pofiibility of conteft. 

Intereft is feldom purfued but at fome hazard. 
He that hopes to gain much, has commonly fome- 


Ni83- THE RAMBLER. 251 

thing to lofe, and when he ventures to attack fupe- 
riority, if he fails to conquer, is irrecoverably crufhed. 
But envy may a<5l without expence or danger. To 
fpread fufpicion, to invent calumnies, to propagate 
fcandal, requires neither labour nor courage, It is 
eafy for the author of a lie, however malignant, to 
efcape detection, and infamy needs very little induftry 
to afiift its circulation. 

Envy is almoft the only vice which is practicable 
at all times, and in every place j the only paffion 
which can never lie quiet for want of irritation : its 
effects therefore are every where difcoverable, and its 
attempts always to be dreaded. 

It is impoffible to mention a name which any ad- 
vantageous diftinction has made eminent, but fome 
latent animofity will burft out. The wealthy trader, 
however he may abftract himfelf from publick affairs, 
will never want thofe who hint, with Sbylock y that 
fhips are but boards. The beauty, adorned only 
with the unambitious graces of innocence and mo- 
defty, provokes, whenever flie appears, a thoufand 
murmurs of detraction. The genius, even when he 
endeavours only to entertain or inftrnct, yet fuffers 
perfecution from innumerable cridcks, whofe acri- 
mony is excited merely by the pain of feeing others 
plcafed, and of hearing applaufes which another 

The frequency of envy makes it fo familiar, that 
it efcapes our notice ; nor do we often reflect upon 
its turpitude or malignity, till we happen to feel its 
influence. When he that has given no provocation 
to malice, but by attempting to excel, finds him- 
felf purfued by multitudes whom lie never faw, with 



all the implacability of perfonal refentment; when 
he perceives clamour and malice let loofe upon him 
as a publick enemy, and incited by every ftratagem 
of defamation ; when he hears the misfortunes of his 
family, or the follies of his youth, expofed to the 
world ; and every failure of conduct, or defect of 
nature, aggravated and ridiculed j he then learns to 
abhor thofe artifices at which he only laughed before, 
and difcovers how much the happinefs of life would 
be advanced by the eradication of envy from the 
human heart. 

Envy is, indeed, a flubborn weed of the mind, and 
feldom yields to the culture of philofophy. There 
are, however, confiderations, which, if carefully im- 
planted and diligently propagated, might in time 
overpower and reprefs it, fmce no one can nurfe it 
for the fake of pleafure, as its effects are only fhame, 
anguilh, and perturbation. 

It is above all other vices inconfiftent with the 
character of a focial being, becaufe it facrifices truth 
and kindnefs to very weak temptations. He that 
plunders a wealthy neighbour gains as much as he 
takes away, and may improve his own condition in 
the fame proportion as he impairs another's ; but he 
that blafts a fiourifhing reputation, muft be content 
with a fmall dividend of additional fame, fo fmall as 
can afford very little confolation to balance the guilt 
by which it is obtained. 

I have hitherto avoided that dangerous and em- 
pirical morality, which cures one vice by means of 
another. But envy is fo bafe and deteftable, fo vile 
in its original, and fo pernicious in its effects, that 
the predominance of almoil any other quality is 


N 183. THE RAMBLER. 253 

to be preferred. It is one of thofe lawlefs enemies 
of fociety, againft which poifoned arrows may ho- 
neftly be ufed. Let it therefore be conftantly re- 
membered, that whoever envies another confefles his 
fuperiority, and let thofe be reformed by their pride 
who have loft their virtue. 

It is no flight aggravation of the injuries which 
envy incites, that they are committed againft thofe 
who have given no intentional provocation ; and that 
the fufFerer is often marked out for ruin, not becaufe 
he has failed in any duty, but becaufe he has dared to 
do more than was required. 

Almoft every other crime is practifed by the help 
of fome quality which might have produced efteem or 
love, if it had been well employed ; but envy is mere 
unmixed and genuine evil j it purfues a hateful end 
by defpicable means, and defires not fo much its own 
happinefs as another's mifery. To avoid depravity 
like this, it is not neceflary that any one ihonld afpire 
to heroifm or fanctity, but only that he Ihould refolve 
not to quit the rank which nature affigns him, and 
wifh to maintain the dignity of a human being. 


NUMB. 184. SATURDAY, December 21, 1751. 

Permittes ipjis expendere numinibus, quid 

Conveniat nobis, rebufqueft utile noftris. Juv. 

Intruft thy fortune to the pow'rs above ; 

Leave them to manage for thee, and to grant 

What their unerring wifdom fees thee want. D R Y D E N . 

AS every fcheme of life, fo every form of writ- 
ing, has its advantages and inconveniencies, 
though not mingled in the fame proportions. The 
writer of eflays efcapes many embarraflments to which 
a large work would have expofed him j he feldom 
harafies his reafon with long trains of confequences, 
dims his eyes with the perufal of antiquated volumes, 
or burthens his memory with great accumulations of 
preparatory knowledge. A carelefs glance upon a 
favourite author, or tranfient furvey of the varieties 
of life, is fufficient to fupply the firft hint or feminal 
idea, which, enlarged by the gradual accretion of 
matter flored in the mind, is by the warmth of fancy 
eafily expanded into flowers, and fometimes ripened 
into fruit. 

The mofl frequent difficulty by which the authors 
of thefe petty compofitions are diftreffed, arifes from 
the perpetual demand of novelty and change. The 
compiler of a fyftem of fcience lays his invention at 
reft, and employs only his judgment, the faculty ex- 
erted with leaft fatigue. Even the relator of feigned 
adventures, when once the principal characters are 
eftablifhed, and the great events regularly connected, 


Ni84. THE RAMBLER. 255 

finds incidents and epifodes crowding upon his mind ; 
every change opens new views, and the latter part of 
the ftory grows without labour out of the former. But 
he that attempts to entertain his reader with uncon- 
nected pieces, finds the irkfomenefs of his tafk rather 
increafed than leflfened by every production. The 
day calls afrefh upon him for a new topick, and he is 
again obliged to choofe, without any principle to re- 
gulate his choice. 

It is indeed true, that there is feldom any necefiky 
of looking far, or inquiring long for a proper fubject. 
Every diverfity of art or nature, every publick bleff- 
ing or calamity, every domeftick pain or gratifica- 
tion, every fally of caprice, blunder of abfurdity, or 
ftratagem of affectation, may fupply matter to him 
whofe only rule is to avoid uniformity. But it often 
happens, that the judgment is diffracted with bound- 
lefs multiplicity, the imagination ranges from one 
defign to another, and the hours pafs imperceptibly 
away, till the compofition can be no longer delayed, 
and neceflity enforces the ufe of thofe thoughts which 
then happen to be at hand. The mind, rejoicing at 
deliverance on any terms from perplexity and fuf- 
pence, applies herfelf vigoroufly to the work before 
her, collects embellishments and illuftrations, and 
fometimes finifhes, with great elegance and happi- 
nefs, what in a ftate of eale and leifure Ihe never had 

It is not commonly obferved, how much, even of 
actions, confidered as particularly fubject to choice, 
is to be attributed to accident, or fome caufe out of 
our own power, by whatever name it be diftinguifhed. 
To clofe tedious deliberations with hafty refolves, 


256 THE RAMBLER. N 184. 

and after long confutations with reafon to refer the 
queftion to caprice, is by no means peculiar to the 
eflayift. Let him that perufes this paper review the 
feries of his life, and inquire how he was placed in his 
prefent condition. He will find, that of the good or 
ill which he has experienced, a great part came un- 
expected, without any vifible gradations of approach ; 
that every event has been influenced by caufes acting 
without his intervention ; and that whenever he 
pretended to the prerogative of forefight, he was 
mortified with new conviction of the fhortnefs of his 

The bufy, the ambitious, the inconflant, and the 
adventurous, may be faid to throw themfelves by de- 
fign into the arms of fortune, and voluntarily to quit 
the power of governing themfelves ; they engage in 
a courfe of life in which little can be afcertained by 
previous meafures; nor is it any wonder that their 
time is paft between elation and defpondency, hope 
and difappointment. 

Some there are who appear to walk the road of life 
with more circumfpection, and make no ftep till they- 
think themfelves fecure from the hazard of a preci- 
pice; when neither pleafure nor profit can tempt 
them from the beaten path; who refufe to climb left 
they fhould fall, or to run left they Ihould {tumble, 
and move (lowly forward without any compliance with 
thofe paffions by which the heady and vehement are 
feduced and betrayed. 

Yet even the timorous prudence of this judicious 
clafs is far from exempting them from the dominion 
of chance, a fubtle and infidious power, who will 
intrude upon privacy and embarrafs caution. No 


Ni84- THE RAMBLER. 257 

courfe of life is fo prefcribed and limited, but that 
many actions muft refult from arbitrary election. 
Every one muft form the general plan of his conduct 
by his own reflections ; he muft refolve whether he 
will endeavour at riches or at content ; whether he 
will exercife private or publick virtues; whether he 
will labour for the general benefit of mankind, or con- 
tract his beneficence to his family and dependants. 

This queftion has long exercifed the fchools of 
philolbphy, but remains yet undecided j and what 
hope is there that a young man, unacquainted with 
the arguments on either . fide, fhould determine his 
own deftiny otherwife than by chance ? 

When chance has given him a partner of his bed, 
whom he prefers to all other women, without any 
proof of fuperior defert, chance muft again direct him 
in the education of his children ; for, who was ever 
able to convince himfelf by arguments, that he had 
chofen for his fon that mode of inftruction to which 
his underftanding was beft adapted, or by which he 
would moft eafily be made wife or virtuous ? 

Whoever Ihall inquire by what motives he was de- 
termined on thefe important occafions, will find them 
fuch as his pride will fcarcely fufFer him to confefs ; 
fome fudden ardour of defire, fome uncertain glimpfe 
of advantage, fome petty competition, fome inaccu- 
rate conclufion, or fome example implicitly reve- 
renced. Such are often the firft caufes of our re- 
jfolves; for it is neceflary to act, but impoffible to 
know the confequences of action, or to difcufs all the 
reafons which offer themfelves on every part to in- 
quifitivenefs and folicitude. 

VOL. VI. Since 

258 THE RAMBLER. N 184. 

Since life itfelf is uncertain, nothing which has life 
for its bafts can boaft much (lability. Yet this is 
but a fmall part of our perplexity. We fet out on a 
tempeftuous fea in queft of fome port, where we ex- 
pect to find reft, but where we are not fure of ad- 
mifiion ; we are not only in danger of finking in the 
way, but of being mifled by meteors miftaken for 
ftars, of being driven from our courfe by the changes 
of the wind, and of lofing it by unfkilful fteerage ; 
yet it fometimes happens, that crofs winds blow us to 
a fafer coaft, that meteors draw us afide from whirl- 
pools, and that negligence or error contributes to our 
efcape from mifchiefs to which a direct courfe would 
have expofed us. Of thofe that, by precipitate con- 
clufions, involve themfelves in calamities without 
guilt, very few, however they may reproach them- 
felves, can be certain that other meafures would have 
been more fuccefsful. 

In this ftate of univerfal uncertainty, where a thou- 
fand dangers hover about us, and none can tell whe- 
ther the good that he purfues is not evil in difguile, 
or whether the next ftep will lead him to fafety or 
deftruction, nothing can afford any rational tranquil- 
lity, but the conviction that, however we amufe our- 
felves with unideal founds, nothing in reality is go- 
verned by chance, but that the univerfe is under the 
perpetual fuperintendence of him who created it ; that 
our being is in the hands of omnipotent goodnefs, by 
whom what appears cafual to us, is directed for ends 
ultimately kind and merciful j and that nothing can 
finally hurt him who debars not himfelf from the di- 
vine favour. 

Ni85. THE RAMBLER. 259 

NUMB. 185. TUESDAY, December 24, 1751. 

At vinditfa lonum vitajucundius ipfa, 

Nempe hoc indofti. - 

Chryfippus non dicit idem, nee mite Thaletis 

Ingenium, dulcique fenex vicinus Hymetto, 

>ui part em accepts fava inter vincla Cicutee 

Accufatori nollet dare. - Quippe minuti 

Semper t & infirmi ejl animi, exiguique voluptas 

Ultio. JuVi 

But O ! revenge 

Thus think the crowd ; who, eager to engage, 

Take quickly fire, and kindle into rage. 

Not fo mild Tbales nor Chryjippus thought, 

Nor that good man, who drank the pois'nous draught 

With mind ferene ; and could not wifti to fee 

His vile accufer drink as deep as he : 

Exalted Socrates ! divinely brave ! 

Injur'd he fell, and dying he forgave, 

Too noble for revenge ; which ftill we find 

The weakeft frailty of a feeble mind. D R Y D E N . 

NO vicious difpofhions of the mind more obfti- 
____ nately refift both the counfels of philofophy 
and the injunctions of religion, than thofe which are 
complicated with an opinion of dignity ; and which 
we cannot difmifs without leaving in the hands of 
oppofition fome advantage iniquitoufly obtained, or 
fuffering from our own prejudices fome imputation of 

For this reafon fcarcely any law of our REDEEMER 
is more openly tranfgrefied, or more induftrioufly 

S 2 evaded, 

. : a6o .THE RAMBLER. N" 185. 

evaded, than that by which he commands his follow- 
ers to forgive injuries, and prohibits, under the fanc- 
tion of eternal mifery, the gratification of the defire 
which every man feels to return pain upon him that 
inflicts it. Many who could have conquered their 
anger, are unable to combat pride, and purfue offences 
to extremity of vengeance, left they fhould be in- 
fulted by the triumph of an enemy. 

But certainly no precept could better become him, 
at whofe birth peace was proclaimed to the earth. For, 
what would fo foon deftroy all the order of fociety, 
and deform life with violence and ravage, as a 
permiffion to every one to judge his own caufe, 
and to apportion his own recompence for imagined 
injuries ? 

It is difficult for a man of the flrictefi juftice not 
to favour himfelf too much, in the calmeft moments 
of folitary meditation. Every one wifhes for the dif- 
tinftions for which thoufands are wifhing at the fame 
time, in their own opinion, with better claims. He 
that, when his reafon operates in its full force, can 
thus, by the mere prevalence of felf-love, prefer 
himfelf to his fellow-beings, is very unlikely to judge 
equitably when his paflions are agitated by a fenfe of 
wrong, and his attention wholly engrofifed by pain, 
intereft, or danger. Whoever arrogates to himfelf 
the right of vengeance, fhows how little he is qua- 
lified to decide his own claims, fince he certainly 
demands what he would think unfit to be granted to 

Nothing is more apparent than that, however in- 
jured, or however provoked, fome muft at laft be 
contented to forgive. For it can never be hoped, 


NO 185. THE RAMBLER. 261 

that he who firft commits an injury, will contentedly 
acquiefce in the penalty required : the fame hanghti- 
nefs of contempt, or vehemence of deiire, that prompt 
the act of injuftice, will more ftrongly incite its jufti- 
fication ; and refentment can never fo exactly balance 
the punifhment with the fault, but there will remain 
an overplus of vengeance which even he who con- 
demns his firft action will think himfelf entitled to re- 
taliate. What then can enfue but a continual exa- 
cerbation of hatred, an unextinguifhable feud, an in- 
ceflant reciprocation of mifchief, a mutual vigilance 
to entrap, and eagernefs to deftroy ? 

Since then the imaginary right of vengeance muft 
be at lad remitted, becaufe it is impoflible to live in 
perpetual hoftility, and equally impoflible that of two 
enemies, either (hould firft think himfelf obliged by 
juftice to fubmiffion, it is furely eligible to forgive 
early. Every pafllon is more eafily fubdued before 
it has been long accuftomed to pofieflion of the heart; 
every idea is obliterated with lefs difficulty, as it has 
been more (lightly impreffed, and lefs frequently re- 
newed. He who has often brooded over his wrongs, 
pleafed himfelf with fchemes of malignity, and glutted 
his pride with the fancied fupplications of humbled 
enmity, will not eafily open his bofom to amity and 
reconciliation, or indulge the gentle fentiments of be- 
nevolence and peace. 

It is eafieft to forgive, while there is yet little to 
be forgiven. A fingle injury may be foon difmiffed 
from the memory j but a long fuccefiion of ill offices 
by degrees aflbciates itfelf with every idea, a long 
conteft involves fo many circumftances, that every 
place and action will recall it to the mind, and frefh 

S remen> 

262 THE RAMBLER. N a 185. 

remembrance of vexation muft flill enkindle rage, 

o J 

and irritate revenge. 

A wife man will make hafle to forgive, becaufe he 
knows the true value of time, and will not fuffer it to 
pafs away in unnecefiary pain. He that willingly 
iuffers the corrofions of inveterate hatred, and gives 
up his days and nights to the gloom of malice, and 
perturbations of ftratagem, cannot furely be faid to 
confult his eafe. Refentment is an union of forrow 
with malignity, a combination of a paffion which all 
endeavour to avoid, with a paffion which all concur 
to deteft. The man who retires to meditate mif- 
chie and to exafperate his own rage ; whofe thoughts 
are employed only on means of diftrefs and con- 
trivances of ruin j whofe mind never paufes from the 
remembrance of his own fufFerings, but to indulge 
fome hope of enjoying the calamities of another, may 
juftly be numbered among the moft miferable of hu- 
man beings, among thofe who are guilty without re- 
ward, who have neither the gladnefs of profperity, 
nor the calm of innocence. 

Whoever confiders the weaknefs both of himfelf 
and others, will not long want perfuafives to forgive- 
nefs. We know not to what degree of malignity any 
injury is to be imputed j or how much its guilt, if 
\ve were to infpect the mind of him that committed 
it, would be extenuated by miftake, precipitance, 
or negligence ; we cannot be certain how much 
more we feel than was intended to be inflicted, or 
how much we increafe the mifchief to ourfelves by 
voluntary aggravations. We may charge to defign 
the effects of accident -, we may think the blow vio- 
lent only becaufe we have made ourfelves delicate and 

tender $ 

N 185. THE RAMBLER. 263 

tender ; we are on every fide in danger of error and 
of guilt ; which we are certain to avoid only by fpcedy 

From this pacifick and harmlefs temper, thus pro- 
pitious to others and ourfelves, to domeftick tran- 
quillity and to focial happinefs, no man is withheld 
but by pride, by the fear of being infuked by his ad- 
verfary, or defpifed by the world. 

It may be laid down as an unfailing and univerfal 
axiom, that " all pride is abject and mean." It is 
always an ignorant, lazy, or cowardly acquiefcence 
in a falfe appearance of excellence, and proceeds not 
from confcioufnefs of our attainments, but infenli- 
bility of our wants. 

Nothing can be great which is not right. Nothing 
which reafon condemns can be fuitable to the dignity 
of the human mind. To be driven by external mo- 
tives from the path which our own heart approves, to 
give way to any thing but conviction, to fuffer the 
opinion of others to rule our choice, or overpower 
our refolves, is to fubmit tamely to the loweil and 
moft ignominious flavery, and to refign the right of 
directing our own lives. 

The utmoft excellence at which humanity can ar- 
rive, is a conftant and determinate purfuit of virtue, 
without regard to prefent dangers or advantage ; a 
continual reference of every action to the divine will ; 
an habitual appeal to everlafting juftice j and an un- 
varied elevation of the intellectual eye to the reward 
which perfeverance only can obtain. But that pride 
which many, who prefume to boaft of generous fen- 
timents, allow to regulate their meafures, has nothing 
nobler in view than the approbation, of men, of be- 

S 4 ings 

264 THE RAMBLER. N 185. 

ings whofc fuperiority we are under no obligation to 
acknowledge, and who, when we have courted them 
with the utmoft affiduity, can confer no valuable or 
permanent reward j of beings who ignorantly judge 
of what they do not underftand, or partially determine 
what they never have examined j and whofe fentence 
is therefore of no weight till it has received the rati- 
fication of our own confcience. 

He that can defcend to bribe fuffrages like thefe, 
at the price of his innocence -, he that can fuffer the 
delight of fuch acclamations to withhold his attention 
from the commands of the univerfal fovereign, has 
little reafon to congratulate himfelf upon the great- 
nefs of his mind ; whenever he awakes to ferioufnefs 
and reflection, he muft become defpicable in his own 
'eyes, and Ihrink with fhame from the remembrance 
of his cowardice and folly. 

Of him that hopes to be forgiven, it is indifpen- 
fibly required that he forgive. It is therefore fuper- 
fluous to urge any other motive. On this great duty 
eternity is fufpended, and to him that refufes to prac- 
tife it, the throne of mercy is inacceflible, and the 
SAVIOUR of the world has been born in vain. 


NUMB. 186. SATURDAY, December 28, 1751, 

Pone me, pzgris ubi nulla campis 
Arbor <fti-~ja recreatttr Aura 
Dulce ridentem Lalagen amabo, 

Dulce loquentem. Ho ft 

Place me where never fummer breeze 

Unbinds the glebe, or warms the trees ; 

Where ever lowering clouds appear, 

And angry Jove deforms th' inclement year : 

Love and the nymph mall charm my toils, 

The nymph, who fweetly fpeaks and fweetly fmiles. 


OF the happinefs and mifery of our prefent ftate, 
part arifes from our fenfations, and part from 
our opinions ; part is diftributed by nature, and part 
is in a great meafure apportioned by ourfelves. Po- 
fitive pleafure we cannot always obtain, and pofitive 
pain we often cannot remove. No man can give to 
his own plantations the fragrance of the Indiali 
groves ; nor will any precepts of philofophy enable 
nim to withdraw his attention from wounds or dif- 
eafes. But the negative infelicity which proceeds, 
not from the prefiure of fufferings, but the abfence of 
enjoyments, will always yield to the remedies of rea- 

One of the great arts of efcaping fuperfluous un- 
eafinefs, is to free our minds from the habit of com- 
paring our condition with that of others on whom 


<>66 THE RAMBLER. Ni86. 

the bleffings of life are more bountifully beftowed, 
or with imaginary flates of delight and fecurity, 
perhaps unattainable by mortals. Few are placed 
in a fituation fo gloomy and diftrefsful, as not to 
fee every day beings yet more forlorn and miferable, 
from whom they may learn to rejoice in their own 

No inconvenience is lefs fuperable by art or 
diligence than the inclemency of climates, and 
therefore none affords more proper exercife for 
this philofophical abstraction. A native of Eng- 
lapdy pinched with the frofts of December, may 
leffen his affection for his own country, by fuffer- 
ing his imagination to wander in the vales of Afia t 
and fport among woods that are always green, 
and ftreams that always murmur j but if he turns 
his thoughts towards the polar regions, and con- 
fiders the nations to whom a great portion of the year 
is darknefs, and who are condemned to pafs weeks 
and months amidft mountains of fnow, he will foon 
recover his tranquillity, and while he ftirs his fire, 
or throws his cloak about him, reflect how much he 
owes to Providence, that he is not placed in Green- 
land 'or Siberia. 

The barren nefs of the earth and the fe verity of 
the fkies in thefe dreary countries, are fuch as 
might be expected to confine the mind wholly to 
the contemplation of neceffity and diftrefs, fo that 
the care of efcaping death from cold and hunger, 
fhould leave no room for thofe paffions which, in 
lands of plenty, influence condutft, or diverfify cha- 
racters j the fummer Ihould be fpent only in pro- 
3 viding 

Ni86. THE RAMBLER. 267 

viding for the winter, and the winter in longing for 
the fummer. 

Yet learned curiofity is known to have found its 
way into thefe abodes of poverty and gloom : Lap- 
land and Iceland have their hiftorians, their criticks, 
and their poets ; and love, that extends his dominion 
wherever humanity can be found, perhaps exerts the 
fame power in the Greenlander'* hut as in the palaces 
of eaftern monarchs. 

In one of the large caves to which the families of 
Greenland retire together, to pafs the cold months, 
and which may be termed their villages or cities, a 
youth and maid, who came from different parts of 
the country, were fo much diftinguifhed for their 
beauty, that they were called by the reft of the inha- 
bitants Annlngait and Ajut y from a fuppofed refem- 
blance to their anceftors of the fame names, who had 
been transformed of old into the fun and moon. 

Anningait for fome time heard the praifes of Ajut 
with little emotion, but at laft, by frequent inter- 
views, became fenfible of her charms, and firft made 
a difcovery of his affection, by inviting her with her 
parents to a feaft, where he placed before Ajut the 
tail of a whale. Ajut feemed not much delighted by 
this gallantry ; yet, however, from that time, was 
obferved rarely to appear, but in a veft made of the 
{kin of a white deer j Ihe ufed frequently to renew 
the black dye upon her hands and forehead, to adorn, 
her fleeves with coral and Ihells, and to braid her 
hair with great exactnefs. 

The elegance of her drefs, and the judicious dif- 
pofition of her ornaments, had fuch an effect upon 


263 THE RAMBLER. N 186.* 

Anmngait, that he could no longer be retrained from 
a declaration of his love. He therefore compofed a 
poem in her praife, in which, among other heroick 
and tender fentiments, he protefted, that " She was 
" beautiful as the vernal willow, an'd fragrant as 
" thyme upon the mountains ; that her fingers were 
" white as the teeth of the morfe, and her fmile grate- 
tc ful as the difiblution of the ice ; that he would pur- 
" fue her, though fhe fhould pafs the fnows of the 
<e midland cliffs, or feek flicker in the caves of the 
<f eaftern cannibals ; that he would tear her from the 
" embraces of the genius of the rocks, fnatch her 
tc from the paws of Amarock, and refcue her from 
" the ravine of Hafgufa" He concluded with a 
wifh, that " whoever fhall attempt to hinder his 
Cf union with Ajut, might be buried without his 
" bow, and that in the land of fouls his fkull might 
" ferve for no other ufe than to catch the droppings 
<f of the flarry lamps." 

This ode being univerfally applauded, it was ex- 
pedled that Ajut would foon yield to fuch fervour and 
accomplilhments j but Ajut, with the natural haugh- 
tinefs of beauty, expected all the forms of courtfhip ; 
and before ihe would confefs herfelf conquered, the 
fan returned, the ice broke, and the feafon of labour 
called all to their employments. 

Anningait and Ajut for a time always went out in 
the fame boat, and divided whatever was caught, 
Anningait, in the fight of his miftrefs, loft no oppor- 
tunity of fignalizing his courage ; he attacked the 
fea-horfes on the ice; purfued the feals into the 
waters and leaped upon the back of the whale, while 


he was yet ftruggling with the remains of life. Nor 
was his diligence lefs to accumulate all that could be 
necefiary to make winter comfortable , he dried the 
roe of fiflies and the flefh of feals ; he entrapped deer 
and foxes, and dreffed their fkins to adorn his bride ; 
he feafted her with eggs from the rocks, and ftrewed 
her tent with flowers. 

It happened that a tempeft drove the fifh to a diftant 
part of the coaft, before Anningait had completed his 
ftore ; he therefore entreated Ajut, that fhe would at 
laft grant him her hand, and accompany him to that 
part of the country whither he was now fummoned by 
neceffity. Ajut thought him not yet entitled to fuch 
conclefcenfion, but propofed, as a trial of his con- 
ftancy, that he friould return at the end of fummer to 
the cavern where their acquaintance commenced, and 
there expect the reward of his affiduities. " O vir- 
" gin, beautiful as the fun fhining on the water, con- 
" fider," faid Anningait, " what thou haft required. 
" How eafily may my return be precluded by a fud- 
" den froft or unexpected fogs ; then muft the night 
<e be paft without my Ajut. We live not, my fair, 
" in thofe fabled countries, which lying ftrangers Ib 
< f wantonly defcribe ; where the whole year is di- 
ee vided into fhort days and nights j where the fame 
" habitation ferves for fummer and winter; where 
<c they raife houfes in rows above the ground, dwell 
" together from year to year, with flocks of tame 
" animals grazing in the fields about them; can 
" travel at any time from one place to another, 
" through ways inclofed with trees, or over walls 
" raifed upon the inland waters ; and direct their 
7 " courfc 

27 o THE RAMBLER. N 186. 

" courfe through wide countries by the fight of green 
" hills or fcattered buildings. Even in fummer, we 
ff have no means of crofTing the mountains, whofe 
" fnows are never diflblved ; nor can remove to any 
<f diftant refidence, but in our boats coafting the 
" bays. Confider, Ajut ; a few fummer-days, and 
Cf a few winter-nights, and the life of man is at an 
* e end. Night is the time of eafe and feflivity, of 
* c revels and gaiety ; but what will be the flaming 
" lamp, the delicious feal, or the foft oil, without 
" the fmileof^/tf." 

The eloquence of Anmngait was vain ; the maid 
continued inexorable, and they parted with ardent 
promifes to meet again before the night of winter. 

N 187. THE RAMBLER. 271 

NUMB. 187. TUESDAY, December 31, 1751. 

Non ilium noftri pojfunt mutare labores, 

Non ft f rigor thus mediis Hebr unique bzbamus, 

Sitboniafque nives hiemis fubeamus aquof<e 

Omnia vincit amor. Vi R c I L 

Love alters not for us his hard decrees, 

Not tho' beneath the Tbracian clime we freeze, 

Or the mild blifs of temperate Ikies forego, 

And in mid winter tread Sitbonian fnow : 

Love conquers all. D R Y D E N . 

/INN ING AIT, however difcompofed by the 
dilatory coynefs of Ajut y was yet refolved to 
omit no tokens of amorous refpect j and therefore 
prefented her at his departure with the fkins of feven 
white fawns, of five fwans and eleven feals, with 
three marble lamps, ten veflcls of feal oil, and a large 
kettle of brafs, which he had purchafed from a fhip, 
at the price of half a whale, and two horns of fea- 

Ajut was fo much affected by the fbndnefs of her 
lover, or fo much overpowered by his magnificence, 
that fhe followed him to the fea-fidej and, when 
fhe faw him enter the boat, wifhed aloud, that he 
might return with plenty of fkins and oil ; that nei- 
ther the mermaids might fnatch him into the deeps, 
nor the fpirits of the rocks confine him in their ca- 

She flood a while to gaze upon the departing 
veffel, and then returning to her hut, filent and de- 


j laid afide, from that hour, her white deer 
ikin, fuffered her hair to fpread unbraided on her 
Ihoulders, and forbore to mix in the dances of the 
maidens. She endeavoured to divert her thoughts 
by continual application to feminine employments, 
gathered mofs for the winter lamps, and dried grals 
to line the boots of Anningait. Of the fkins which 
he had beftowed upon her, {he made a fifhing- 
coat, a fmall boat, and tent, all of exquifite ma- 
nufacture ; and while fhe was thus bufied, folaced 
her labours with a fong, in which (he prayed, 
f f that her lover might have hands ilronger than the 
,' c paws of the bear, arid feel fwifter than the feet of 
" the rain-deer ; that his dart might never err, 
." and that his boat might never leak ; that he 
<f might never flumble on the ice, nor faint in the 
< f water > that the leal might rufti on his harpoon, 
" and the wounded whale might dafh the waves in 
<e vain." 

The large boats in which the Greenlanders tranf- 
port their families, are always rowed by women ; 
for a man will not debafe himfelf by work, which 
requires -neither fkill nor courage. Anningait was 
therefore expofed by idlenefs to the ravages of paf- 
fion. He went thrice to the ftern of the boat, with 
an intent to leap into the water, and fwim back to 
his miftrefs j but recollecting the mifery which they 
muft endure in the winter, without oil for the 
lamp, or fkins for the bed, he refolved to em- 
ploy the weeks of abfence in provifion for a night 
of plenty and felicity. He then compofed his emo- 
tions as he could, and exprefled in wild numbers 
and uncouth images, his hopes, his forrows, and his 


N i8y. THE RAMBLER. 273 

fears. fc O life," fays he, fc frail, and uncertain ! 
cc where fhall wretched man find thy refemblance 
tf but in ice floating on .the ocean ? It towers on 
(C high, it fparkles from afar, while the ftorms drive 
" and the waters beat it, the fun melts it above, and 
" the rocks fhatter it below. What art thou, de- 
" ceitful pleafure ! but a fudden blaze ftreaming 
" from the north, which plays a moment on the 
" eye, mocks the traveller with the hopes of light, 
<c and then vanifhes for ever ? What, love, art thou 
" but a whirlpool, which we approach without 
cc -knowledge of our danger, drawn on by imper- 
" ceptible degrees, till we have loft all power of 
<c refiftance and efcape ? Till I fixed my eyes on the 
<c graces of Ajut> while I had not yet called her to 
<c the banquet, I was carelefs as the fieeping morfe, 
cc I was merry as the fingers in the ftars. Why, 
" Ajut, did I gaze upon thy graces ? why, my fair, 
f{ did I call thee to the banquet ? Yet, be faithful, 
<{ my love, remember Annmgait s and meet my re- 
" turn with the fmile of virginity. I will chafe the 
" deer, I will fubdue the whale, refiftlefs as the froft 
" of darknefs, and unwearied as the fummer fun. 
ef In a few weeks, I ihall return profperous and 
fc wealthy j then fhall the roefifh and the porpoife 
" feaft thy kindred j the fox and hare fhall cover thy 
" couch j the tough hide of the feal fhall flicker thee 
* from cold j and the fat of the whale illuminate thy 
<c dwelling." 

Anningalt having with thefe fentiments confoled his 
grief, and animated his induftry, found that they 
had now coafted the headland, and faw the whales 
ipouting at a diftance. He therefore placed him- 

Vot. VI. T felf 

274 THE RAMBLER. N 187. 

felf in his fifhing-boat, called his afibciates to their 
feveral employments, plied his oar and harpoon with 
incredible courage and dexterity ; and, by dividing 
his time between the chace and fifhery, fufpended the 
miferies of abfence and fufpicion. 

Ajut, in the mean time, notwithftanding her ne- 
glected drefs, happened, as Ihe was drying fome 
Jkins in the fun, to catch the eye of Norngfttk, on his 
return from hunting. Norngfuk was of birth truly 
illuftrious. His mother had died in child-birth, and 
his father, the moft expert fifher of Greenland, had 
perifhed by too clofe purfuit of the whale. His dig- 
nity was equalled by his riches ; he was mailer of 
four men's and two women's boats, had ninety tubs 
of oil in his winter habitation, and five and twenty 
feals buried in the fnow againfl the feafon of darknefs. 
When he faw the beauty of Ajut, he immediately 
threw over her the fkin of a deer that he had taken, 
and foon after prefented her with a branch of coraL 
Ajut refufed his gifts, and determined to admit no 
lover in the place of Anningait. 

Norngfuk , thus rejected, had recourfe to ftratagem. 
He knew that Ajut would confult an Angekkok, or 
diviner, concerning the fate of her lover, and the 
felicity of her future life. He therefore applied 
himfelf to the moft celebrated Angekkok of that part 
of the country, and by a prefent of two feals and a 
marble kettle obtained a promife, that when Ajut 
fhould confult him, he would declare that her lover 
was in the land of fouls. Ajut, in a fliort time, 
brought him a coat made by herfelf, and enquired 
what events were to befal her, with aflurances of a 
much larger reward at the return of Anningait, if the 



predi&ion fhould flatter her defires. The Angekkok 
knew the way to riches, and foretold that Anningait t 
having already caught two whales, would foon return 
home with a large boat laden with provifions. 

This prognoftication fhe was ordered to keep 
fecret; and Norngfuk depending upon his artifice, 
renewed his addrefles with greater confidence; but 
finding his fuit ftill unfuccefsful, applied himfelf to 
her parents with gifts and promifes. The wealth of 
Greenland is too powerful for the virtue of a Green- 
lander j they forgot the merit and the prefents of An- 
ningait, and decreed Ajut to the embraces of Norng- 
Juk. She entreated j fhe remonftrated j fhe wept, 
and raved ; but finding riches irrefiftible, fled away 
into the uplands, and lived in a cave upon fuch 
berries as fhe could gather, and the birds or hares 
which fhe had the fortune to enfnare, taking care, at 
an hour when fhe was not likely to be found, to view 
the fea every day, that her lover might not mifs her 
at his return. 

At laft fhe faw the great boat in which Anningait 
had departed, ftealing flow and heavy laden along the 
coaft. She ran with all the impatience of affection to 
catch her lover in her arms, and relate her conftancy 
and fufferings. When the company reached the 
land, they informed her, that Anningait, after the 
fifhery was ended, being unable to fupport the flow 
paflfage of the veflel of carriage, had fet out before 
them in his fiftiing-boat, and they expected at their 
arrival to have found him on fhore. 

Ajut) diffracted at this intelligence, was about to 
fly into the hills, without knowing why, though fhe 
was now in the hands of her parents, who forced her 

T 2 back 

^6 THE RAMBLER. N 187. 

back to their own hut, and endeavoured to comfort 
her ; but when at lad they retired to reft, A jut went 
down to the beach ; where finding a filhing-boat, fhe 
entered it without hefitation, and telling thofe who 
wondered at her rafhnefs, that fhe was going in fearch 
of Annirigait) rowed away with great fwiftnefs, and 
was feen no more. 

The fate of thefe lovers gave occafion to various 
fictions and conjectures. Some are of opinion, that 
they were changed into ftars ; others imagine, that 
Anningait was ieized in his pafiage by the genius of 
the rocks, and that Ajut was transformed into a mer- 
maid, and ftill continues to leek her lover in the de- 
ferts of the fea. But the general perfuafion is, that 
they are both in that part of the land of fouls where 
the fun never fets, where oil is always frefh, and pro- 
vifions always warm. The virgins fometimes throw 
a thimble and a needle into the bay, from which the 
haplefs maid departed ; and when a Greenlander would 
praife any couple for virtuous affection, he declares 
that they love like Anningait and Ajut. 

N i83. THE RAMBLER. 277 

NUMB. 188. SATURDAY, January 4, 1752. 

Sitecolo, Sexte, non amabo. MART. 

The more I honour thee, the lefs I love. 

NO N E of the defires dictated by vanity is more 
general, or lefs blameable, than that of being 
diftinguifhed for the arts of converfation. Other 
accomplilhments may -be porTefTed without oppor- 
tunity of exerting them,- or wanted without danger 
that the defect can often be remarked; but as no 
man can live, otherwife than in an hermitage, with- 
out hourly pleafure or vexation, from the fondnefs or 
neglect of thofe abbut him, the faculty of giving 
pleafure is of continual ufe. Few are more frequently 
envied than thofe who have the power of forcing at- 
tention wherever they come, whofe entrance is con- 
fidered as a promife of felicity, and whofe departure 
is lamented, like the recefs of the fun from northern 
climates, as a privation of all that enlivens fancy, or 
infpirits gaiety. 

It is apparent, that to excellence in this valuable 
art, fome peculiar qualifications are necefTary ; for 
every one's experience will inform him, that the 
pleafure which men are able to give in converfation, 
holds no dated proportion to their knowledge or 
their virtue. Many find their way to the tables and 
the parties of thofe who never confider them as of 
the lead importance in any other place ; we have all* 
at one time or other, been content to love thofe 

T 3 whom 

278 THE RAMBLER. Ni88. 

whom we could not efteem," and been perfuaded to 
try the dangerous experiment of admitting him for a 
companion, whom we knew to be too ignorant for a 
counfellor, and too treacherous for a friend. 

I queftion whether fome abatement of character is 
not neceflary to general acceptance. Few fpend 
their time with much fatisfaction under the eye of 
unconteftable fuperiority ; and therefore, among thofe 
whofe prefence is courted at aflemblies of jollity, 
there are feldom found men eminently diftinguifhed 
for powers or acquifitions. The wit whofe vivacity 
condemns flower tongues to filence, the fcholar whofe 
knowledge allows no man to fancy that he inftructs 
him, the critick who fuffers no fallacy to pafs un- 
detected, and the reafoner who condemns the idle 
to thought, and the negligent to attention, are 
generally praifed and feared, reverenced and avoided. 

He that would pleafe muft rarely aim at fuch ex- 
cellence as depreffes his hearers in their own opinion, 
or debars them from the hope of contributing reci- 
procally to the entertainment of the company. Mer- 
riment, extorted by fallies of imagination, fprightli- 
nefs of remark, or quicknefs of reply, is too often 
what the Latins call, the Sardinian Laughter, a di- 
ftortion of the face without gladnefs of heart. 

For this reafon, no ftyle of converfation is more 
extenfively acceptable than the narrative. He who 
has ftored his memory with flight anecdotes, private 
incidents, and perfonal peculiarities, feldom fails to 
find his audience favourable. Almoft every man 
liftens with eagernefs to contemporary hiftoryj for 
almoil every man has fome real or imaginary con- 

N i88. THE RAMBLER. 279 

nection with a celebrated character; fome defire to 
advance or oppofe a rifing name. Vanity often co- 
operates with curiofity. He that is a hearer in one 
place, qualifies himfelf to become a fpeaker in an- 
other ; for though he cannot comprehend a feries of 
argument, or tranfport the volatile fpirit of win 
without evaporation, he yet thinks himfelf able to 
treafure up the various incidents of a ftory, and 
pleafes his hopes with the information which he fhall 
give to fome inferior fociety. 

Narratives are for the mod part heard without 
envy, becaufe they are not fuppofed to imply any 
intellectual qualities above the common rate. To 
be acquainted with fads not yet echoed by plebeian 
mouths, may happen to one man as well as to ano- 
ther j and to relate them when they are known, has 
in appearance fo little difficulty, that every one con- 
cludes himfelf equal to the tafk. 

But it is not eafy, and in fome fituations of. life 
not poffible, to accumulate fuch a flock of materials 
as may fupport the expence of continual narration ; 
and it frequently happens, that they who attempt 
this method of ingratiating themfelves, pleafe only 
at the firft interview ; and, for want of new fupplies 
of intelligence, wear out their ftories by continual 

There would be, therefore, little hope of obtain- 
ing the praife of a good companion, were it not to 
be gained by more compendious methods j but fuch 
is the kindnefs of mankind to all, except thofe who 
afpire to real merit and rational dignity, that every 
underftanding may find fome way to excite benevo- 

T 4 lencej 


lence , and whoever is not envied may learn the art 
of procuring love. We are willing to be pleafed, but 
are not willing to admire; we favour the mirth or 
officioufriefs that folicits our regard, but oppofe the 
worth or fpirit that enforces it. 

The firft place among thofe that pleafe, becaufe 
they defire only to pleafe, is due to the merry fellow , 
whofe laugh is loud, and whole voice is ftrong j 
who is ready to echo every jeft with obftreperous ap- 
probation, and countenance every frolick with vo- 
ciferations of applaufe. It is not neceflary to a merry 
fellow to have in himfelf any fund of jocularity, or 
force of conception ; it is fufficient that he always 
appears in the higheft exaltation of gladnefs, for the 
greater part of mankind are gay or ferious by infec- 
tion, and follow without refiftance the attraction of 

Next to the merry fellow is the good-natured man, 
a being generally without benevolence, or any other 
virtue, than fuch as indolence and infenfibility con- 
fer. The charadteriftick of a good-natured man is 
to bear a joke ; to fit unmoved and unaffected 
amidft noife and turbulence, profanenefs and obfce- 
nity ; to hear every tale without contradiction ; to 
endure infult without reply; and to follow the flream 
of folly, whatever courfe it fhall happen to take. 
The good-natured man is commonly the darling of 
the petty wits, with whom they exercife themfelves 
in the rudiments of raillery ; for he never takes 
advantage of failings, nor difconcerts a puny fatirift 
with unexpected farcafms ; but while the glafs con- 
tinues to circulate, contentedly bears the expence of 


N i88. THE RAMBLER. aSr 

uninterupted laughter, and retires rejoicing at his 
own importance. 

The modeft man is a companion of a yet lower 
rank, whofe only power of giving pleafure is not to 
interrupt it. The modeft man fadsfies himfelf with 
peaceful filence, which all his companions are can- 
did enough to confider as proceeding not from ina- 
bility to fpeak, but willingnefs to hear. 

Many, without being able to attain any general 
character of excellence, have fome fingle art of enter- 
tainment which ferves them as a paiTport through 
the world. One I have known for fifteen years the 
darling of a weekly club, becaufe every night, pre- 
cifely at eleven, he begins his favourite long, and 
during the vocal performance, by correfponding 
motions of his hand, chalks out a giant upon the 
wall. Another has endeared himfelf to a long fuc- 
ceflion of acquaintances by fitting among them with 
his wig reverfed ; another by contriving to fmut the 
nofe of any ftranger who was to be initiated in the 
club j another by purring like a cat, and then pre- 
tending to be frighted ; and another by yelping Tike 
a hound, and calling to the drawers to drive out the 

Such are the arts by which cheerfulnefs is pro- 
moted, and fometimes friendfhip eftablifhed j arts, 
which thofe who defpife them fhould not rigoroufly 
blame, except when they are pradlifed at the expence 
of innocence ; for it is always necefiary to be loved, 
but not always neceflary to be reverenced. 

282 THE RAMBLER. N<>i89, 

NUMB. 189. TUESDAY, January 7, 1752, 

Quod tarn grande fopbos clamat till turla togata, 

Non tu t Pomponi, c<zna diferta tua eft. MART, 

Refounding plaudits tho' the crowd have rung ; 

Thy treat is eloquent, and not thy tongue. F. LEWIS, 

TH E world fcarcely affords opportunities of 
making any obfervation more frequently, than 
on falfe claims to commendation. Almoft every 
man waftes part of his life in attempts to difplay 
qualities which he does not poffefs, and to gain ap- 
plaufe which he cannot keep ; fo that fcarcely can 
two perfons cafually meet, but one is offended or di- 
verted by the oftentation of the other. 

Of thefe pretenders it is fit to diftinguifh thofe who 
endeavour to deceive from them who are deceived ; 
thofe who by defigned impoftures promote their in- 
tereft, or gratify their pride, from them who mean 
only to force into regard their latent excellencies and 
neglefted virtues j who believe themfelves qualified 
to inftruft or pleafe, and therefore invite the notice 
of mankind. 

The artful and fraudulent ufurpers of diftiniStion 
deferve greater feverities than ridicule and contempt, 
fince they are feldom content with empty praife, but 
are inftigated by paffions more pernicious than vanity. 
They confider the reputation which they endeavour 
to eftablifh as neceffary to the accomplifhment of 
fome fubfequent defign, and value praife only as it 


N 189. THE RAMBLER. 283 

may conduce to the fuccefs of avarice or ambi- 

The commercial world is very frequently put into 
confufion by the bankruptcy of merchants, that af- 
fumed the fplendour of wealth only to obtain the 
privilege of trading with the flock of other men, and 
of contracting debts which nothing but lucky cafual- 
ties could enable them to pay j till after having fup- 
ported their appearance a while by tumultuous mag- 
nificence of boundlefs traffick, they fink at once, and 
drag down into poverty thofe whom their equipages 
had induced to truft them. 

Among wretches that place their happinefs in the 
favour of the great, of beings whom only high titles 
or large eftates fet above themfelves, nothing is more 
common than to boaft of confidence which they do 
not enjoy j to fell promifes which they know their in- 
tereft unable to perform ; and to reimburfe the tribute 
\vhich they pay to an imperious matter, from the 
contributions of meaner dependants, whom they can 
amufe with tales of their influence, and hopes of their 

Even among fome, too thoughtlefs and volatile 
for avarice or ambition, may be found a fpecics of 
falfehood more deteftable than the levee or exchange 
can (hew. There are men that boaft of debaucheries, 
of which they never had addrefs to be guilty ; ruin, 
by lewd tales, the characters of women to whom they 
are fcarcely known, or by whom they have been re- 
jected; deftroy in a drunken frolick the happinefs of 
families; blaft the bloom of beauty, and intercept 
the reward of virtue. 


284 THE RAMBLER. N 189. 

Other artifices of falfehood, though utterly un- 
worthy of an ingenuous mind, are not yet to be 
ranked with flagitious enormities, nor is it neceffary 
to incite fanguinary juftice againft them, fmce they 
may be adequately punifhed by detection and laugh- 
ter. The traveller who defcribes cities which he has 
never feen j the fquire who, at his return from Lon- 
don, tells of his intimacy with nobles to whom he has 
only bowed in the park, or coffee-houfe; the author 
who entertains his admirers with (lories of the affift- 
ance which he gives to wits of a higher rank ; the city 
dame who talks of her vifits at great houfes, where 
fhe happens to know the cook-maid, are furely fuch 
harmlels animals as truth herfelf may be content to 
defpife without defiring to hurt them. 

But of the multitudes who ftruggle in vain for 
diftinction, and difplay their own merits only to feel 
more acutely the fting of neglect, a great part are 
wholly innocent of deceit, and are betrayed, by in- 
fatuation and credulity, to that fcorn with which the 
xmiverfal love of praife incites us all to drive feeble 
competitors out of our way. 

Few men furvey themfelves with fo much feverity, 
as not to admit prejudices in their own favour, which 
an artful flatterer may gradually ftrengthen, till wifhes 
for a particular qualification are improved to hopes 
of attainment, and hopes of attainment to belief of 
poffefilon. Such flatterers every one will find, who 
has power to reward their afliduities. Wherever there 
is wealth, there will be dependance and expectation, 
and wherever there is dependance, there will be an 
emulation of fervility. 

N 189. THE RAMBLER. 285 

Many of the follies which provoke general cenfure, 
are the effects of fuch vanity as, however it might 
have wantoned in the imagination, would fcarcely have 
dared-the publick eye, had it not been animated and 
emboldened by flattery. Whatever difficulty there 
may be in the knowledge of ourfelves, fcarcely any 
one fails to fufped his own imperfections, till he is 
elevated by others to confidence. We are almoft all 
naturally modeft and timorous j but fear and fhame 
are uneafy fenfations, and whofoever helps to remove 
them is received with kindnefs. 

'Turpicula was the heirefs of a large eftate, and 
having loft her mother in her infancy, was committed 
to a governefs, whom misfortunes had reduced to 
fupplenefs and humility. The fondnefs offttrpicula'a 
father would not fuffer him to truft her at a publick 
fchool, but he hired domeftick teachers, and beftowed 
on her all the accomplifliments that wealth could 
purchafe. But how many things are neceflary to hap- 
pinefs which money cannot obtain ? Thus fecluded 
from all with whom fhe might converfe on terms of 
equality, ftie heard none of thofe intimations of her 
defects, which envy, petulance, or anger, produce 
among children, where they are not afraid of telling 
what they think. 

furpicula faw nothing but obfequioufnefs, and 
heard nothing but commendations. None are fo 
little acquainted with the heart, as not to know that 
woman's firft wifh is to be handfome, and that con- 
fequently the readieft method of obtaining her kind- 
nefs is to praife her beauty. Turpicula had a diftorted 
lhape and a dark complexion j yet, when the impu- 
dence of adulation had ventured to tell her of the 


a86 THE RAMBLER. N 189. 

commanding dignity of her motion, and the foft 
enchantment of her fmile, fhe was eafily convinced, 
that fhe was the delight or torment of every eye, and 
that all who gazed upon her felt the fire of envy or 
love. She therefore neglected the culture of an un- 
de'rftanding which might have fupplied the defects 
of her form, and applied all her care to the decora- 
tion of her perfon j for fhe confidered that more 
could judge of beauty than of wit, and was, like the 
reft of human beings, in hade to be admired. The 
defire of conqueft naturally led her to the lifts in 
which beauty fignalizes her power. She glittered at 
court, fluttered in the park, and talked aloud in the 
front-box ; but, after a thoufand experiments of her 
charms, was at laft convinced that (he had been flat- 
tered, and that her glafs was honefter than her maid, 


NUMB. 190. SATURDAY, January n, 1752. 

Ploraverefuis, nan refpondere favoretn 

mentis. HOR, 

Clos'd their long glories with a figh, to find 

TV unwilling gratitude of bafe mankind. POP E. 

AMONG the emirs and vifiers, the Tons of 
valour and of wifdom, that ftand at the cor- 
ners of the Indian throne, to aflift the counfels or 
conduct the wars of the pofterity of Timur, the firft 
place was long held by Morad the Ion of Hanutb. 
Morad having fignalized himfelf in many battles and 
fieges, was rewarded with the government of a pro- 
vince, from which the fame of his wifdom and mo- 
deration was wafted to the pinnacles of Agra, by the 
prayers of thofe whom his adminiftration made 
happy. The emperor called him into his prefence, 
and gave into his hand the keys of riches, and the 
fabre of command. The voice of Morad was heard 
from the cliffs of Taurus to the Indian ocean, every 
tongue faultered in his prefence, and every eye was 
caft down before him. 

Morad lived many years in profperity j every day 
increafed his wealth, and extended his influence. 
The fages repeated his maxims, the captains of 
thoufands waited his commands. Competition with- 
drew into the cavern of envy, and difcontent trem- 
7 bled 

288 THE RAMBLER. N 190. 

bled at her own murmurs. But human greatnefs 
is fhort and-tranfitory, as the odour of incenfe in 
the fire. The fun grew weary of gliding the palaces 
of Morad, the clouds of forrow gathered round his 
head, and the tempeft of hatred roared about his 

Morad favv ruin haftily approaching. The firft 
that forfook him were his poets j their example 
was followed by all thofe whom he had rewarded 
for contributing to his pleafures, and only a few, 
whofe virtue had entitled them to favour, were now 
to be feen in his hall or chambers. He felt his 
danger, and proftrated himfelf at the foot of the 
throne. His accufers were, confident and loud, his 
friends ftood contented with frigid neutrality, and the 
voice of truth was overborne by clamour. He was 
divefted of his power, deprived of his acquifitions, 
and condemned to pafs the reft of his life on. his here- 
ditary eft ate. 

Morad had been fo long accuftomed to crowds and 
bufmefs, fupplicants and flattery, that he knew not 
how to fill up his hours in folitude ; he faw with re- 
gret the fun rife to force on his eye a new day for 
which he had no ufe j and envied the favage that 
wanders in the defert, becaufe he has no time vacant 
from the calls of nature, but is always chafing his 
prey, or fleeping in his den. 

His difcontent in time vitiated his conftitution, 
and a (low difeafe feized upon him. He refufed 
phyfick, neglected exercife, and lay down on his 
couch peevifli and reftlefs, rather afraid to die than 
defirous to live. His domefticks, for a time, re- 


doubled their affiduities; but finding that no offici- 
oufnefs could footh, nor exactnefs fatisfy, they foon 
gave way to negligence and {loth, and he that once 
commanded nations, often languilhed in his chamber 
without an attendant. 

In this melancholy ftate, he commanded mef- 
fengers to recal his eldeft fon Abouzaid from the 
army. Abouzaid was alarmed at the account of his 
father's ficknefs, and hafted by long journies to his 
place of refidence. Morad was yet living, and 
felt his ftrength return at the embraces of his fon ; 
then commanding him to fit down at his bed- fide, 
tf Abouzaid" fays he, " thy father has no more 
" to hope or fear from the inhabitants of the earth, 
<{ the cold hand of the angel of death is now upon 
" him, and the voracious grave is howling for his 
" prey. Hear therefore the precepts of ancient 
" experience, let not my laft inftructions ifiue forth 
<f in vain. Thou haft feen me happy and cala- 
" mitous, thou haft beheld my exaltation and my 
" fall. My power is in the hands of my enemies, 
" my treafures have rewarded my accufers; but 
* e my inheritance the clemency of the emperor has 
" fpared, and my wifdom his anger could not take 
" away. Caft thine eyes round thee, whatever thou 
<f beholdeft will, in a few hours, be thine; apply 
<c thine ear to my dictates, and thefe pofleflions will 
" promote thy happinefs. Afpire not to publick 
" honours, enter not the palaces of kings; thy 
" wealth will fet thee above infult, let thy mode- 
" ration keep thee below envy. Content thyfelf 
ce with private dignity, diffufe thy riches among 
c< thy friends, let every day extend thy beneficence, 

VOL. VI. U and 

290 THE RAMBLER. N 190. 

" and fuffer not thy heart to be at reft till thou art 
ft loved by all to whom thou art known. In the 
tf height of my power, I faid to defamation. Who 
" will hear thee ? and to artifice, What canft thou 
" perform ? But, my fon, defpife not thou the ma- 
" lice of the weakeft, remember that venom fupplies 
cc the want of ftrength, and that the lion may perifh 
" by the puncture of an afp." 

Morad expired in a few hours. Alouzald^ after 
the months of mourning, determined to regulate 
his conduct by his father's precepts, and cultivate 
the love of mankind by every art of kindnefs and 
endearment. He wifely confidered, that domeftick 
happinefs was firft to be fecured, and that none have 
fo much power of doing good or hurt, as thofe who 
are prefent in the hour of negligence, hear the 
burfls of thoughtlefs merriment, and obferve the 
Harts of unguarded paffion. He therefore aug- 
mented the pay of all his attendants, and requited 
every exertion of uncommon diligence by fupernu- 
merary gratuities. While he congratulated himfelf 
upon the fidelity and affection of his family, he was 
in the night alarmed with robbers, who being pur- 
fued and taken, declared that they had been admitted 
by one of his fervants ; the fervant immediately con- 
fefled, that he unbarred the door, becaufe another 
not more worthy of confidence was entrufted with the 

Abouzaid was thus convinced that a dependant 
could not eafily be made a friend ; and that while 
many were foliciting for the firft rank of favour, all 
thofe would be alienated whom he difappointed. He 
therefore refolved to affociate with a few equal com- 


panions fclected from among the chief men of the 
province. With thefe he lived happily for a time, 
till familiarity fet them free from reftraint, and every 
man thought himfelf at liberty to indulge his own 
caprice, and advance his own opinions. They then 
diflurbed each other with contrariety of inclinations, 
and difference of fentiments, and Abouzald was ne- 
ceffitated to offend one party by concurrence, or both 
by indifference. 

He afterwards determined to avoid a clofe union 
with beings fo difcordant in their nature, and to dif- 
fufe himfelf in a larger circle. He pradifed the fmile 
of univerfal courtefy, and invited all to his table, 
but admitted none to his retirements. Many who 
had been rejected in his choice of friendship, now 
refufed to accept his acquaintance ; and of thofe whom 
plenty and magnificence drew to his table, every one 
preffed forward toward intimacy, thought himfelf 
overlooked in the crowd, and murmured becaufe he 
was not diftinguifhed above the reft. By degrees all 
made advances, and all refented repulfe. The table 
was then covered with delicacies in vain ; the mu- 
fick founded in empty rooms j and Abouzald was left 
to form in folitude fome new fcheme of pleafure or 

Refolving now to try the force of gratitude, he en- 
quired for men of fcience, whofe merit was obfcured 
by poverty. His houfe was foon crowded with poets, 
fculptors, painters, and defigners, who wantoned in 
unexperienced plenty, and employed their powers in 
celebration of their patron. But in a fliort time they 
forgot the diftrefs from which they had been refcued, 
and began to confider their deliverer as a wretch of 

U 2 narrow 

292 THE RAMBLER. N 190, 

narrow capacity, who was growing great by works 
which he could not perform, and whom they over- 
paid by condefcending to accept his bounties. Aboit- 
zaid heard their murmurs and difmilTed them, and 
from that hour continued blind to colours, and deaf 
to panegyrick* 

As the fons of art departed, muttering threats of 
perpetual infamy, Abouzaid, who flood at the gate, 
called to him Hamet the poet. " Hamet" faid he, 
(f thy ingratitude has put an end to my hopes and 
" experiments : I have now learned the vanity of 
" thofe labours that wifh to be rewarded by human 
* f benevolence j I fhall henceforth do good, and 
" avoid evil, without refpect to the opinion of men; 
" and refolve to folicit only the approbation of that 
<c Being whom alone we are fure to pleafe by endea- 
" vouring to pleafe him." 



NUMB. 191. TUESDAY, January 14, 1752. 

Cereus in vitiumfe&i, motiitoribus afper. HOR, 

The youth 

Yielding like wax, th' impreffive folly bears ; 

Rough to reproof, and flow to fucure cares. FRANCIS, 

?o the RAMBLER. 

Dear Mr, RAMBLER, 

IH AV E been four days confined to my cham- 
ber by a cold, which has already kept me from 
three plays, nine fales, five fhows, and fix card- 
tables, and put me feventeen vifits behind- hand ; 
and the doctor tells my mamma, that if I fret and 
cry, it will fettle in my head, and I fhall not be fit to 
be feen thefe fix weeks. But, dear Mr. Rambler, 
how can I help it ? At this very time Melt/fa is 
dancing with the prettietl gentleman $ fhe will break- 
faft with him to-morrow, and then run to two auc- 
tions, and hear compliments, and have prefents j then 
fhe will be dreft, and vifit, and get a ticket to the 
play j then go to cards and win, and come home with 
two flambeaus before her chair. Dear Mr. Rambler, 
who can bear it ? 

My aunt has juft brought me a bundle of your pa- 
pers for my amufement. She fays, you are a philo- 
fopher, and will teach me to moderate my defires, and 
look upon the world with indifference. But, dear 
fir, I do not wifh> nor intend to moderate my de- 
ll 3 fires, 

294 THE RAMBLER. N 191. 

fires, nor can I think it proper to look upon the 
world with indifference, till the world looks with in- 
difference on me. I have been forced, however, to 
lit this morning a whole quarter of an hour with your 
paper before my face j but juft as my aunt came in, 
Pbyllida had brought me a letter from Mr. Trip, 
which I put within the leaves, and read about abfence 
and inconfoleablenefs, and ardour, and irrefiftible -paf- 
Jlonj and eternal conftancy, while my aunt imagined, 
that I was puzzling myfelf with your philofophy, and 
often cried out, whenfhe faw me look confufed, <c If 
ce there is any word that you do not understand, child, 
" I will explain it." 

Dear foul ! how old people that think themfelves 
wife may be impofed upon ! But it is fit that they 
fhould take their turn, for I am fure, while they can 
keep poor girls clofe in the nurfery, they tyrannize 
over us in a very mameful manner, and fill our ima- 
ginations with tales of terror, only to make us live in 
quiet fubjection, and fancy that we can never be fafe 
but by their protection. 

I have a mamma and two aunts, who have all 
been formerly celebrated for wit and beauty, and are 
ilill generally admired by thofe that value themfelves 
upon their underftanding, and love to talk of vice and 
virtue, nature and fimplicity, and beauty and pro- 
priety ; but if there was not fome hope of meeting 
me, fcarcely a creature would come near them that 
wears a faihionable coat. Thefe ladies, Mr. Rambler, 
have had trie under their government fifteen years 
and a half, and have all that time been endeavouring 
to deceive me by fuch reprefentations of life as I now 
find not to be true -, but I know not whether I ought 


N 191. THE RAMBLER. 295 

to impute them to ignorance or malice, as it is pof- 
fible the world may be much changed fmce they 
mingled in general converfation. 

Being defirous that I fhould love books, they told 
me, that nothing but knowledge could make me an 
agreeable companion to men of ienfe, or qualify me 
to diftinguifh the fuperficial glitter of vanity from the 
folid merit of underftandingj and that a habit of 
reading would enable me to fill up the vacuities of 
life without the help of filly or dangerous amufe- 
ments, and preferve me from the fnares of idlenefs 
and the inroads of temptation. 

But their principal intention was to make me afraid 
of men ; in which they fucceeded fo well for a time, 
that I durit not look in their faces, or be left alone 
with them in a parlour j for they made me fancy, that 
no man ever fpoke but to deceive, or looked but to 
allure ; that the girl who fufFered him that had once 
fqueezed her hand, to approach her a fecond time, 
was on the brink of ruin ; and that fhe who anfwered 
a billet, without confulting her relations, gave love 
fuch power over her, that fhe would certainly become 
either poor or infamous. 

From the time that my leading firings were taken 
off, I fcarce heard any mention of my beauty but 
from the milliner, the mantua-maker, and my own 
maidj for my mamma never faid more, when the 
heard me commended, but < f the girl is very well," 
and then endeavoured to divert my attention by fome 
enquiry after my needle, or my book. 

It is now three months fmce I have been fufFered 
pay and receive vifits, to dance at publick afiem- 
blies, to have a place kept for me in the boxes, and 

U 4 to 

296 THE RAMBLER. N 191. 

to play at lady Rackets rout ; and you may eafily 
imagine what I think of thofe who have fo long 
cheated me with falfe expectations, difturbed me 
with fictitious terrors, and concealed from me all 
that I have found to make the happinefs of woman. 

I am fo far from perceiving the ufefulnefs or ne- 
cefilty of books, that if I had not dropped all pre- 
tenfions to learning, I fhould have lotl Mr. Trip, 
whom I once frighted into another box, by retailing 
fome of Dryden's remarks upon a tragedy j for Mr. 
Vrip declares, that he hates nothing like hard words, 
and I am fure, there is not a better partner to be 
found ; his very walk is a dance. I have talked 
once or twice among ladies about principles and ideas, 
but they put their fans before their faces, and told 
me I was too wife for them, who for their part never 
pretended to read any thing but the play- bill, and 
then afked me the price of my bed head. 

Thofe vacancies of time which are to be filled up 
with books, I have never yet obtained ; for, con- 
iider, Mr. Rambler, I go to bed late, and therefore 
cannot rife early j as foon as I am up, I drefs for the 
gardens j then walk in the park j then always go to 
fome fale or fhow, or entertainment at the little 
theatre j then muft be drefled for dinner j then muft 
pay my vifits j then walk in the park ; then hurry 
to the play j and from thence to the card-table. 
This is the general courfe of the day, when 
there happens nothing extraordinary j but fometimes 
I ramble into the country, and come back again to 
a ball ; fometimes I am engaged for a whole day and 
part of the night. If, at any time, I can gain an 
hour by not being at home, I have fo many things 


NO 191. THE RAMBLER. 297 

to do, fo many orders to give to the milliner, fo 
many alterations to make in my clothes, fo many 
vifitants names to read over, fo many invitations to 
accept or refufe, fo many cards to write, and fo 
many fafhions to confider, that I am loft in confufion, 
forced at laft to let in company or ftep into my chair, 
and leave half my affairs to the direction of my maid. 

This is the round of my day ; and when fhall I 
either flop my courfe, or fo change it as to want a 
book ? I fuppofe it cannot be imagined, that any of 
thefe diverfions will foon be at an end. There will 
always be gardens, and a park, and auctions, and 
fhows, and playhoufes, and cards ; vifits will always 
be paid, and clothes always be worn ; and how can 
J have time unemployed upon my hands ? 

But I am molt at a lofs to guefs for what purpofe 
they related fuch tragick ftories of the cruelty, per- 
fidy, and artifices of men, who, if they ever were fo 
malicious and deftructive, have certainly now re- 
formed their manners. I have not, fince my en- 
trance into the world, found one who does not pro- 
fefs himfelf devoted to my fervice, and ready to live 
or die, as I {hall command him. They are fo far 
from intending to hurt me, that their only contention 
is, who Ihall be allowed moft clofely to attend, and 
moft frequently to treat me ; when different places 
of entertainment, or fchemes of pleafure are men- 
tioned, I can fee the eye fparkle and the cheeks glow 
of hirp whofe propofals obtain my approbation ; he 
then leads me off in triumph, adores my conde- 
fcenfion, and congratulates himfelf that he has lived 
to the hour of felicity. Are thefe, Mr. Rambler, 
creatures to be feared ? Is it likely that an injury 


298 THE RAMBLER. N 191. 

will be done me by thofe who can enjoy life only 
while I favour them with my prefence ? 

As little reafon can I yet find to fufpect them of 
ftratagems and fraud. When I play at cards, they 
never take advantage of my miftakes, nor exad from 
me a rigorous obfervation of the game. Even Mr. 
Shuffle^ a grave gentleman, who has daughters older 
than myfelf, plays with me fo negligently, that I am 
fometimes inclined to believe he lofes his money by 
defign, and yet he is fo fond of play, that he fays, 
he will one day take me to his houfe in the country, 
that we may try by ourfelves who can conquer. I 
have not yet promifed him; but when the town grows 
a little empty, I fhall think upon it, for I want fome 
trinkets, like Letitia's, to my watch. I do not doubt 
my luck, but muft ftudy fome means of amufing my 

For all thefe diftinctions I find myfelf indebted to 
that beauty which I was never fuffered to hear praifed, 
and of which, therefore, I did not before know the 
full value. The concealment was certainly an in- 
tentional fraud, for my aunts have eyes like other 
people, and I am every day told, that nothing but 
blindnefs can efcape the influence of my charms. 
Their whole account of that world which they pre- 
tend to know fo well, has been only one fifbion en- 
tangled with another ; and though the modes of life 
oblige me to continue fome appearances of relpcdt, 
I cannot think that they, who have been Ib clearly 
deteded in ignorance or impofture, have any right 
to the efteem, veneration, or obedience of, 

SIR, Yours, 


N 192. THE RAMBLER. 299 

NUMB. 192. SATURDAY, January 18, 1752. 

F/v^ 1 aic^ lit; igcJleif 

O Tot ocglygov ^iA'/j'c7af 

Al TaTOV # a^cAlpo?, 


n&}.j%Gi> >ooi ^ at/rok* 

To ae %S^GJ oMy ( tx.=ff&a 


Vain the nobleft birth would prove, 

Nor worth nor wit avail in love ; 

'Tis gold alone fucceeds by gold 

The venal fex is bought and fold. 

Accurs'd be he who firft of yore 

Difcover'd the pernicious ore ! 

This fets a brother's heart on fire, 

And arms the fon againft the fire ; 

And what, alas ! is worfe than all, 

To this the lover owes his fall. F. LEWIS. 

?o the RAMBLER. 

SI R, 

I AM the fon of a gentleman, whofe anceftors, 
for many ages, held the firft rank in the county ; 
till at laft one of them, too defirous of popularity, 
fet his houfe open, kept a table covered with conti- 
nual profufion, and diftributed his beef and ale to 
fuch as chofe rather to live upon the folly of others, 
than their own labour, with fuch thoughtlefs libera- 
lity, that he left a third part of his eftate mortgaged. 
His fucceffor, a man of fpirit, fcorned to impair 


300 THE RAMBLER. N 192. 

his dignity by parfimonious retrenchments, or to 
admit, by a fale of his lands, any participation of 
the rights of his manor j he therefore made another 
mortgage to pay the intereft of the former, and 
pleafed himfelf with the reflection, that his fon would 
have the hereditary eftate without the diminution of 
an acre. 

Nearly refembling this was the practice of my wife 
progenitors for many ages. Every man boafted the 
antiquity of his family, refolved to fupport the dig- 
nity of his birth, and lived in fplendour and plenty 
at the expence of his heir, who, fometimes by a 
wealthy marriage, and fometimes by lucky legacies, 
difcharged part of the incumbrances, and thought 
himfelf intitled to contract new debts, and to leave 
to his children the fame inheritance of embarraff- 
ment and diftrefs. 

Thus the eftate perpetually decayed ; the woods 
were felled by one, the park ploughed by another, 
the fiQiery let to farmers by a third -, at laft the old 
hall was pulled down to fpare the coft of reparation, 
and part of the materials fold to build a fmall houfe 
with the reft. We were now openly degraded from 
our original rank, and my father's brother was al- 
lowed with lefs reluctance to ferve an apprenticefhip, 
though we never reconciled ourfelves heartily to 
the found of haberdafher, but always talked of 
warehoufes and a merchant, and when the wind hap- 
pened to blow loud, affected to pity the hazards of 
commerce, and to fympathize with the folicitude of 
my poor uncle, who had the true retailer's terror of 
adventure, and never expofed himfelf or his property 
to any wider water than the Thames. 


N 192. THE RAMBLER. 301 

In time, however, by continual profit and fmall 
expences, he grew rich, and began to turn his 
thoughts towards rank. He hung the arms of 
the family over his parlour-chimney , pointed at a 
chariot decorated only with a cypher 3 became of 
opinion that money could not make a gentleman > 
refented the petulance of upftarts ; told ftories of 
alderman Puff's grandfather the porter j wondered 
that there was no better method for regulating pre- 
cedence; wifhed for fome drefs peculiar to men of 
fafhion; and when his fervant prefented a letter, al- 
ways enquired whether it came from his brother the 

My father was careful to fend him game by 
every carrier, which, though the conveyance often 
coft more than the value, was well received, becaufe 
it gave him an opportunity of calling his friends to- 
gether, defcribing the beauty of his brother's feat, 
.and lamenting his own folly, whom no remonftrancea 
could withhold from polluting his ringers with a 

The little prefents which we fent were always re- 
turned with great munificence. He was defirous of 
being the fecond founder of his family, and could not 
bear that we ftiould be any longer outfhone by thofe 
whom we confldered as climbers upon our ruins, and 
ufurpers of our fortune. He furnifhed our houfe 
with all the elegance of fafhionable expence, and was 
careful to conceal his bounties, left the poverty of 
his family fhould be fufpected. 

At length it happened that, by mifconduc"b like 
our own, a large eftate, which had been purchafed 


302 THE RAMBLER. N 192. 

from us, was again expofed to the bed bidder. My 
uncle, delighted with an opportunity of reinftating 
the family in their pofleflions, came down with trea- 
fures, fcarcely to be imagined in a place where com- 
merce has not made large fums familiar, and at once 
drove all the competitors away, expedited the writ- 
ings, and took poflfeffion. He now confidered him- 
felf as fuperior to trade, difpofed of his flock, and as 
foon as he had fettled his economy, began to fhew 
his rural fovereignty, by breaking the hedges of his 
tenants in hunting, and feizing the guns or nets of 
thofe whofe fortunes did not qualify them for fportf- 
men. He foon afterwards folicited the office of Ihe- 
rifF, from which all his neighbours were glad to be 
reprieved, but wfiich he regarded as a refumption of 
anceftral claims, and a kind of reftoration to blood 
after the attainder of a trade. 

My uncle, whofe mind was fo filled with this change 
of his condition, that he found no want of domeftick 
entertainment, declared himfelf too old to marry, 
and refolved to let the newly- purchafed eftate fall into 
the regular channel of inheritance. I was therefore 
confidered as heir apparent, and courted with offici- 
oufnefs and carefles, by the gentlemen who had hi- 
therto coldly allowed me that rank which they could 
not refufe, deprefled me with ftudied neglecl:, and 
irritated me with ambiguous infults. 

I felt not much pleafure from the civilities for 
which I knew myfelf indebted to my uncle's in- 
duftry, till by one of the invitations which every- 
day now brought me, I was induced to Ipend a 
week with Lucius, whofe daughter Flavilfo I had 
7 often 

N 192. THE RAMBLER. 303 

often feen and admired like others, without any- 
thought of nearer approaches. The inequality which 
had hitherto kept me at a diftance being now le- 
velled, I was received with every evidence of refpect j 
Lucius told me the fortune which he intended for his 
favourite daughter, many odd accidents obliged us to 
be often together without company, and I foon began 
to find that they were fpreading for me the nets of 

Fiavilla was all foftnefs and complaifance. I, who 
had been excluded by a narrow fortune from much 
acquaintance with the world, and never been honoured 
before with the notice of fo fine a lady, was eafily en- 
amoured. Lucius either perceived my paffion, or 
Flavilla betrayed it ; care was taken, that our private 
meetings fhould be lefs frequent, and my charmer 
confefled by her eyes how much pain fhe fuffered from 
our reftraint. I renewed my vifit upon every pre- 
tence, but was not allowed one interview without 
witnefs ; at laft I declared my paffion to Lucius, who 
received me as a lover worthy of his daughter, and 
told me that nothing was wanting to his confent, but 
that my uncle fhould fettle his eftate upon me. I 
objected the indecency of encroaching on his life, 
and the danger of provoking him by fuch an unfea- 
fonable demand. Lucius feemed not to think de- 
cency of much importance, but admitted the danger 
of difpleafing, and concluded that as he was now old 
and fickly, we might, without any inconvenience, 
wait for his death. 

With this refolution I was better contented, as it 
procured me the company of Flavilla, in which the 
days patted away amidft continual rapture j but in 


304 THE RAMBLER, N 192. 

time I began to be athamed of fitting idle, in expec- 
tation of growing rich by the death of my benefactor, 
and propofed to Lucius many fchemes of raifing my 
own fortune by fuch affiftance as I knew my uncle 
willing to give me. Lucius, afraid left I fhould 
change my affection, in abfence, diverted me from my 
defign by diffuafives to which my paffion eafily liften- 
ed. At laft my uncle died, and confidering himfelf 
as neglected by me, from the time that Flavilla took 
pofTefiion of my heart, left his eftate to my younger 
brother, who was always hovering about his bed, and 
relating (lories of my pranks and extravagance, my 
contempt of the commercial dialect, and my impa- 
tience to be felling ftock. 

My condition was foon known, and I was no longer 
admitted by the father of Flavilla. I repeated the 
proteftations of regard, which had been formerly re- 
turned with fo much ardour, in a letter which fhe re- 
ceived privately, but returned by her father's foot- 
man. Contempt has driven out my love, and I am 
content to have purchafed, by the lois of fortune, an 
efcape from a harpy, who has joined the artifices of 
age to the allurements of youth. 1 am now going to 
purfue my former projects with a legacy which my 
uncle bequeathed me, and if I fucceed, fliall expect 
to hear of the repentance of Flavilla. 

I am, S I R } Yours, &c. 



193- THE RAMBLER. 305 

NUMB. 193. TUESDAY, January 21, 1752, 

Laudis amore tumes ? funt cert a piacula qn<e te 

T'er purl lefto poterunt recreare lib elk. Ho R . 

Or art thou vain ? books yield a certain fpell 
To Hop thy tumour ; you Shall ceafe to fwell ) 

When you have read them thrice, and ftudied well. J 


WHATEVER is univcrfally defired, will be 
fought by induftry and artifice, by merit and 
crimes, by means good and bad, rational and abfurd, 
according to the prevalence of virtue or vice, of wif- 
dom or folly. Some will always miftake the degree 
of their own defert, and fome will defire that others 
may miftake it. The cunning will have recourfe to 
ftratagem, and the powerful to violence, for the at- 
tainment of their wifhes ; fome will ftoop to theft, 
and others venture upon plunder. 

Praife is fo pleafing to the mind of man, that it is 
the original motive of almoft all our actions. The 
defire of commendation, as of every thing elfe, is 
varied indeed by innumerable differences of temper, 
capacity, and knowledge ; fome have no higher wifh 
than for the applaufe of a club ; fome expect the ac- 
clamations of a county;. and fome have hoped to fill 
the mouths of all ages and nations with their names. 
Every man pants for the higheft eminence within his 
view i none, however mean, ever finks below the 
hope of being diftinguilhed by his fellow- beings, 
and very few have, by magnanimity or piety, been 

VOL. VI. X fo 

306 THE RAMBLER. N 193. 

fo raifed above it, as to act wholly without regard to 
cenfure or opinion. 

To be praifed, therefore, every man refolves ; but 
refolutions will not execute themfelves. That which 
all think too parfimonioufly distributed to their own 
claims, they will not gratuitoufly fquander upon 
others, and fome expedient muft be tried, by which 
praife may be gained before it can be enjoyed. 

Among the innumerable bidders for praife, fome 
are willing to purchafe at the higheft rate, and offer 
eafe and health, fortune and life. Yet even of thefe 
only a fmall part have gained what they fo earneftly 
defired -, the ftudent waftes away in meditation, and 
the foldier perifhes on the ramparts, but unlefs fome 
accidental advantage co-operates with merit, neither 
perfeverance nor adventure attract attention, and 
learning and bravery fink into the grave, without 
honour or remembrance. 

But ambition and vanity generally expect to be 
gratified on eafier terms. It has been long obferved, 
that what is procured by fkill or labour to the firft 
pofleffor, may be afterwards transferred for money ; 
and that the man of wealth may partake all the ac- 
quifitions of courage without hazard, and all the pro- 
duels of induftry without fatigue. It was eafily dif- 
covered, that riches would obtain praife among 
other conveniencies, and that he whofe pride was 
unluckily afibciated with lazinefs, ignorance, or 
cowardice, needed only to pay the hire of a panegy- 
rift, and he might be regaled with periodical eulo- 
gies j might determine, at leifure, what virtue or 
icience he would be pleafed to appropriate, and be 
lulled in the evening with foothing ferenades, or 
waked in the morning by fprightly gratulations. 


N 193. THE RAMBLER. 307 

The happinefs which mortals receive from the ce- 
lebration of beneficence which never relieved, elo- 
quence which never perfuaded, or elegance which 
never pleafed, ought not to be envied or difturbed, 
when they are known honeftly to pay for their en- 
tertainment. But there are unmerciful exac~lors of 
adulation, who withhold the wages of venality ; re- 
tain their encomiaft from year to year by general 
promifes and ambiguous blandifhments ; and when 
he has run through the whole compafs of flattery, 
difmifs him with contempt, becaufe his vein of fic- 
tion is exhaufted. 

A continual feaft of commendation is only to be 
obtained by merit or by wealth ; many are therefore 
obliged to content themfelves with fingle morlels, 
and recompence the infrequency of their enjoyment 
by excefs and riot, whenever fortune fets the banquet 
before them. Hunger is never delicate; they who 
are feldom gorged to the full with praife, may be 
fafely fed with grofs compliments ; for the appetite 
muft be fatisfied before it is difgufted. 

It is eafy to find the moment at which vanity is 
eager for fuftenance, and all that impudence or 
fervility can offer will be well received. When any 
one complains of the want of what he is known to 
poffefs in an uncommon degree, he certainly waits 
with impatience to be contradicted. When the 
trader pretends anxiety about the payment of his bills, 
or the beauty remarks how frightfully Ihe looks, then 
is the lucky moment to talk of riches or of charms, of 
the death of lovers, or the honour of a merchant. 

Others there are yet more open and artlefs, who, 

inftead of fuborning a flatterer, are content to fupply 

X 2 his 


his place, and, as fome animals impregnate them- 
felvesj fwell with the praifes which they hear from 
their own tongues. Reffe is dicitur laudare Jefe, cut 
nemo alius contiglt laudator. C( It is right," fays Eraf- 
vwSy " that he, whom no one elfe will commend, 
<f fhould beftow commendations on himfelf." Of 
all the fons of vanity, thefe are furely the happieft 
and greateft ; for what is greatnefs or happinefs but 
independence on external influences, exemption from 
hope or fear, and the power of fupplying every want 
from the common ftores of nature, which can neither 
be exhausted nor prohibited ? Such is the wife man of 
the ftoicks ; fuch is the divinity of the epicureans ; 
and fuch is the flatterer of himfelf. Every other en- 
joyment malice may deftroy ; every other panegyrick 
envy may withhold j but no human power can de- 
prive the boafter of his own encomiums. Infamy 
may hifs, or contempt may growl, the hirelings of 
the great may follow fortune, and the votaries of 
truth may attend on virtue j but his pleafures ftill 
remain the fame -, he can always liften with rapture 
to himfelf, and leave thofe who dare not repofe upon 
their own atteftation, to be elated or depreffed by 
chance, and toil on in the hopelefs talk of fixing ca- 
price, and propitiating malice. 

This art of happinefs has been long practifed by 
periodical writers, with little apparent violation of 
decency. When we think our excellencies over- 
looked by the world, or defire to recal the attention 
of the publick to fome particular performance, we 
fit down with great compofure and write a letter to 
ourfelves. The correfpondent, whofe character we 
ailume, always addrefles us with the deference due 


N i 9 3- THE RAMBLER. 309 

to a fuperior intelligence; propofes his doubts with 
a proper fenfe of his own inability ; offers an objec- 
tion with trembling diffidence ; and at lad has no 
other pretenfions to our notice than his profundity of 
refpeft, and fmcerity of admiration, his fubmifllon 
to our dictates, and zeal for our fuccefs. To fuch a 
reader, it is impoffible to refufe regard, nor can it 
eafily be imagined with how much alacrity we fnatch 
up the pen which indignation or defpair had con- 
demned to inactivity, when we find fuch candour 
and judgment yet remaining in the world. 

A letter of this kind I had lately the honour of per- 
ufing, in which, though fome of the periods were ne- 
gligently clofed, and fome expreffions of familiarity 
were ufed, which I thought might teach others to 
addrefs me with too little reverence, I was fo much 
delighted with the paflages in which mention was 
made of univerfal learning unbounded genius- 
foul of Homer, Pythagoras, and Plato folidity of 
thought accuracy of diftinction elegance of com- 
bination vigour of fancy ftrength of reafon and 
regularity of compofition that I had once deter- 
mined to lay it before the publick. Three times I 
lent it to the printer, and three times 1 fetched it 
back. My modeily was on the point of yielding, 
when reflecting that I was about to wafte panegyricks 
on myfelf, which might be more profitably referved 
for my patron, I locked it up for a better hour, in 
compliance with the farmer's principle, who never 
cats at home what he can carry to the market. 


NUMB. 194. SATURDAY, January 25, 1752. 

Sic damnofa fenem jimat alea, ludit et bares 

BuHatus, parvcque eadem quatit arma fritillo . Juv. 

If gaming does an aged fire entice, - 

Then my young mailer fwiflly learns the vice, ^ 

And fiiakes in hanging fleeves the little box and dice. J 

j. DRYDEN, jun. 

To tie RAMBLER. 

S I R, 

THAT vanity which keeps every man im- 
portant in his own eyes, inclines me to be- 
lieve that neither you nor your readers have yet for- 
gotten the name of Eumathes, who fent you a few 
months ago an account of his arrival at London, with 
a young nobleman his pupil. I fhall therefore con- 
tinue my narrative without preface or recapitulation. 

My pupil, in a very fhort time, by his mother's 
countenance and direction, accomplifhed himfelf with 
all thofe qualifications which conftitute puerile po- 
litenefs. He became in a few days a perfect matter 
of his hat, which with a carelefs nicety he could put 
off or on, without any need to adjuft it by a fecond 
motion. This was not attained but by frequent con- 
fultations vyith his dancing-mafter, and conftant prac- 
tice before the glafs, for he had fome ruftick habits 
to overcome j but, what will not time and induftry 
perform ? A fortnight more furnilhed him with all 
7 the 

N 194. THE RAMBLER. 5 u 

the airs and forms of familiar and refpe<5tful faluta- 
tion, from the clap on the fhoulder to the humble 
bow j he praftifes the flare of ftrangenefs, and the 
fmile of condefcenfion, the folemnity of promile, and 
the gracioufnefs of encouragement, as if he had been 
nurfed at a levee ; and pronounces, with no lefs pro- 
priety than his father, the monofyilables of coldnefs, 
and fonorous periods of refpe&ful profeffion. 

He immediately loft the referve and timidity which 
folitude and ftudy are apt to imprefs upon the moft 
courtly genius j was able to enter a crowded room 
with airy civility -, to meet the glances of a hundred 
eyes without perturbation ; and addrefs thofe whom 
he never faw before with eafe and confidence. In lefs 
than a month his mother declared her fatisfaction at 
his proficiency by a triumphant obfervation, that {he 
believed nothing would make him blujh. 

The filence with which I was contented to hear 
my pupil's praifes, gave the lady reafon to fufpect me 
not much delighted with his acquifitions ; but fhe 
attributed my difcontent to the diminution of my in- 
fluence, and my fears of lofing the patronage of the 
family i and though fhe thinks favourably of my 
learning and morals, fhe confiders me as wholly un- 
acquainted with the cuftoms of the polite part of man- 
kind j and therefore not qualified to form the man- 
ners of a young nobleman, or communicate the 
knowledge of the world. This knowledge fhe com- 
prifes in the rules of vifiting, the hiftory of the pre- 
fent hour, an early intelligence of the change of 
falhions, an extenfive acquaintance with the names 
and faces of perfons of rank, and a frequent appear- 
ance in places of refort. 

X 4 



All this my pupil purfues with great application. 
He is twice a day in the Mall, where he itudies the 
drefs'of every man fplendid enough to attraft his no- 
tice, and never comes home without fome obfervation 
upon (leeves, button-holes, and embroidery. At 
his return from the theatre, he can give an account of 
the gallantries, glances, whifpers, fmiles, fighs, flirts, 
and blufhes of every box, fo much to his mother's 
fatisfaction, that when I attempted to refume my cha- 
racter, by enquiring his opinion of the fentiments and 
diction of the tragedy, fhe at once repreffed my cri- 
ticifm, by telling me, that fhe hoped he did not go to 
loje his time in attending to the creatures on the ft age. 

But his acutenefs was moft eminently fignalized at 
the mafquerade, where he difcovered his acquaint- 
ance through their difguifes, with fuch wonderful 
facility, as has afforded the family an inexhauftible 
topick of converfation. Every new vifitor is inform- 
ed how one was detected by his gait, and another by 
the fvving of his arms, a third by the tofs of his head, 
and another by his favourite phrafe ; nor can you 
doubt but thefe performances receive their juft ap- 
plaufe, and a genius thus flattening to maturity is 
promoted by every art of cultivation. 

Such have been his endeavours, and fuch his af- 
fiftances, that every trace of literature was foon obli- 
terated. He has changed his language with his drefs, 
and inftead of endeavouring at purity or propriety, 
has no other care than to catch the reigning phrafe 
and current exclamation, till by copying whatever is 
peculiar in the talk of all thofe whofe birth or for- 
tune entitle them to imitation, he has collected every 
fafhionable barbarifm of the prcfent winter, and 


Ni94- THE RAMBLER. 313 

fpeaks a dialed not to be underflood among thofe 
who form their ftyle by poring upon authors. 

To this copioufnefs of ideas, and felicity of 
language, he has joined fuch eagernefs to lead 
the converfation, that he is celebrated among the 
ladies as the prettieft gentleman that the age can 
boaft of, except that fome who love to talk them- 
felves think him too forward, and others lament 
that, with fo much wit and knowledge, he is not 

His mother liftens to his obfervations with her eyes 
fparkling and her heart beating, and can fcarcely 
contain, in the moft numerous aflemblies, the ex- 
pectations which fhe has formed for his future emi- 
nence. Women, by whatever fate, always judge 
abfurdly of the intellects of boys. The vivacity and 
confidence which attract female admiration, are fel- 
clom produced in the early part of life, but by ig- 
norance at leaft, if not by ftupidity ; for they pro- 
ceed not from confidence of right, but fearleffnefs 
of wrong. Whoever has a clear apprehenfion, muft 
have quick fenfibility, and where he has no fuffi- 
cient reafon to truft his own judgment, will proceed 
with doubt and caution, becaufe he perpetually 
dreads the difgrace of error. The pain of mifcar- 
riage is naturally proportionate to the defire of ex- 
cellence j and, therefore, till men are hardened by 
long familiarity with reproach, or have attained, by 
frequent ftruggles, the art of fupprefiing their emo- 
tions, diffidence is found the infeparable affociate of 

But fo little diftruft has my pupil of his own abi- 
lities, that he has for fome time profefled himfelf a 


314 THE RAMBLER. N 194. 

wit, and tortures his imagination on all occafions for 
burlefque and jocularity. Flow he fupports a cha- 
racter which, perhaps, no man ever affumed without 
repentance, may be eafily conjectured. Wit, you 
know, is the unexpected copulation of ideas, the dif- 
covery of fome occult relation between images in ap- 
pearance remote from each other ; an effufion of wit, 
therefore, prefuppofes an accumulation of know- 
ledge; a memory ftored with notions, which the 
imagination may cull out to compole new aflemblages. 
Whatever may be the native vigour of the mind, fhe 
can never form any combinations from few ideas, as 
many changes can never be rung upon a few bells. 
Accident may indeed fometimes produce a lucky pa- 
rallel or a ftriking contraft ; but thefe gifts of chance 
are not frequent, and he that has nothing of his own, 
and yet condemns himfelf to needlefs expences, muft 
live upon loans or theft. 

The indulgence which his youth has hitherto ob- 
tained, and the refpect which his rank fecures, have 
hitherto fupplied the want of intellectual qualifica- 
tions j and he imagines that all admire who applaud, 
and that all who laugh are pleafed. He therefore re- 
turns every day to the charge with increafe of cou- 
rage, though not of ftrength, and praifes all the tricks 
by which wit is counterfeited. He lays trains for a 
quibble j he contrives blunders for his footman ; he 
adapts old ftories to prefent characters ; he miftakes 
the queftion, that he may return a fmart anfwer ; he 
anticipates the argument, that he may plaufibly object j 
when he has nothing to reply, he repeats the laft 
words of his antagonift, then fays, " your humble 
" fervant," and concludes with a laugh of triumph. 


N 194. THE RAMBLER. 315 

Thefe miftakes I have honeftly attempted to cor- 
rect ; but, what can be expected from reafon unfup- 
ported by fafhion, fplendour, or authority ? He hears 
me, indeed, or appears to hear me, but is foon re- 
fcued from the lecture by more pleafing avocations ; 
and fhows, diverfions, and careffes, drive my pre- 
cepts from his remembrance. 

He at laft imagines himfelf qualified to enter the 
world, and has met with adventures in his firft fally, 
which I fhall, by your paper, communicate to the 

I am, &c. 


316 THE RAMBLER. N 195. 

NUMB. 195. TUESDAY, January 28, 1752. 

' Nefcit equo rudis 

Harere ingenuus puer, 
Venarique timet ; ludere doftiar 

Sen Grteco jubeas trocho, 
Seu malis vet it a legibus aha. Ho R . 

Nor knows our youth, of nobleft race, 
To mount the manag'd fteed, or urge the chace ; 

More fkill'd in the mean arts of vice, 
The whirling troque, or law-forbidden dice. FRANCIS. 

20 the RAMBLER. 


FAVOURS of every kind are doubled when 
they are fpeedily conferred. This is particu- 
larly true of the gratification of curiofity : He that 
long delays a ftory, and fuffers. his auditor to tor- 
ment himfelf with expectation, will feldom be able 
to recompenfe the uneafinefs, or equal the hope 
which he fufFers to be raifed. 

For this reafon, I have already fent you the con- 
tinuation of my pupil's hiftory, which, though it 
contains no events very uncommon, may be of ufe 
to young men who are in too much hafte to truft 
their own prudence, and quit the wing of protection 
before they are able to ihift for themfelves. 

When he firft fettled in London^ he was fo much 
bewildered in the enormous extent of the town, fo 


Ni95- THE RAMBLER. 317 

confounded by inceffant noife, and crowds, and hurry, 
and fo terrified by rural narratives of the arts of 
lharpers, the rudenefs of the populace, malignity of 
porters, and treachery of coachmen, that he was 
afraid to go beyond the door without an attendant, 
and imagined his life in danger if he was obliged to 
pafs the ftreets at night in any vehicle but his mo- 
ther's chair. 

He was therefore contented, for a time, that I 
fhould accompany him in all his excurfions. But his 
fear abated as he grew more familiar with its objects ; 
and the contempt to which his rufticity expofed him. 
from fuch of his companions as had accidentally 
known the town longer, obliged him to diflemble his 
remaining terrors. 

His defire of liberty made him now willing to 
fpare me the trouble of obferving his motions ; but 
knowing how much his ignorance expofed him to 
mifchief, I thought it cruel to abandon him to the 
fortune of the town. We went together every day 
to a coffee-houfe, where he met wits, heirs, and fops, 
airy, ignorant, and thoughtlefs as himfelf, with whom 
he had become acquainted at card-tables, and whom 
he confidered as the only beings to be envied or ad- 
mired. What were their topicks of converfation, I 
could never difcover ; for fo much was their viva- 
city deprefled by my intrufive ferioufnefs, that they 
feldom proceeded beyond the exchange of nods and 
fhrugs, an arch grin, or a broken hint, except when 
they could retire, while I was looking on the papers, 
to a corner of the room, where they feemed to dif- 
burden their imaginations, and commonly vented 
the fuperfluity of their fprightlinefs in a peal of 



laughter. When they had tittered themfelves into 
negligence, I could fometimes overhear a few fylla- 
bles, fuch as, folemn rafcal j academical airs j 
fmoke the tutor; company for gentlemen ! and 
other broken phrafes, by which I did not fuffcr my 
quiet to be difturbed, for they never proceeded to 
avowed indignities, but contented themfelves to mur- 
mur in fecret, and, whenever I turned my eye upon 
them, fhrunk into flilnefs. 

He was, however, defirous of withdrawing from 
the fubjection which he could not venture to break, 
and made a fecret appointment to affift his compa- 
nions in the perfecudon of a play. His footman 
privately procured him a catcal, on which he prac- 
tifed in a back- garret for two hours in the after- 
noon. At the proper time a chair was called j he 
pretended an engagement at lady Flutter 's, and 
haftened to the place where his critical ailbciates had 
aflembled. They hurried away to the theatre, full of 
malignity and denunciations againft a man whofe 
name they had never heard, and a performance 
which they could not underftand ; for they were re- 
folved to judge for chemfelves, and would not fuffer 
the town to be impofed upon by feribblers. In the 
pit, they exerted themfelves with great fpirit and vi- 
vacity ; called out for the tunes of obfcene fongs, 
talked loudly at intervals of Shakefpeare and John/on, 
played on their catcals a fhort prelude of terror, 
clamoured vehemently for the prologue, and clapped 
with great dexterity at the firft entrance of the 

Two fcenes they heard without attempting inter- 
ruption ; but being no longer able to reftrain their 


N*i95- THE RAMBLER. 319 

impatience, they then began to exert themfelves in 
groans and hifies, and plied their catcals with incef- 
fant diligence ; fo that they were foon confidered by 
the audience as difturbers of the houfe, and fome who 
fat near them, either provoked at the obftruclion of 
their entertainment, or defirous to preferve the author 
from the mortification of feeing his hopes deftroyed 
by children, fnatched away their inftruments of cri- 
ticifm, and by the feafonable vibration of a flick, 
fubdued them inftantaneoufly to decency and filence. 

To exhilarate themfelves .after this vexatious de- 
feat, they pofted to a tavern, where they recovered 
their alacrity, and after two hours of obftreperous 
jollity, burft out big with enterprize, and panting for 
fome occafions to fignalize their prowefs. They pro- 
ceeded vigoroufly through two ftreets, and with very 
little oppofition difperfed a rabble of drunkards lefs 
daring than themfelves, then rolled two watchmen in 
the kennel, and broke the windows of a tavern in 
which the fugitives took (belter. At laft it was de- 
termined to march up to a row of chairs, and demo- 
Hfh them for {landing on the pavement ; the chair- 
men formed a line of battle, and blows were exchanged 
for a time with equal courage on both fides. At laft 
the aflailants were overpowered, and the chairmen, 
when they knew their captives, brought them home 
by force. 

The young gentleman, next morning, hung his 
head, and was fo much afliamed of his outrages and 
defeat, that perhaps he might have been checked in 
his firfl follies, had not his mother, partly in pity of 
his dejeflion, and partly in approbation of his fpirit, 
relieved him from his perplexity by paying the da- 

320 THE RAMBLER. N 195. 

mages privately, and difcouraging all animadverfion 
and reproof. 

This indulgence could not wholly prefer ve him 
from the remembrance of his difgrace, nor at once 
reftore his confidence and elation. He was for three 
days filent, modeft, and compliant, and thought him- 
felf neither too wife for inftruction, nor too manly 
for reftraint. But his levity overcame this falutary 
forrow ; he began to talk with his former raptures of 
mafquerades, taverns, and frolicks j bluftered when 
his wig was not combed with exactnefs ; and threat- 
ened deftruction to a tailor who had miftaken his di- 
rections about the pocket. 

I knew that he was now rifing again above con- 
troul, and that his inflation of fpirits would burfc out 
into fome mifchievous abfurdity. I therefore watched 
him with great attention j but one evening, having 
attended his mother at a vifit, he withdrew himfelf, 
imfufpecled, while the company was engaged at cards. 
His vivacity and officioulhefs were loon miffed, and 
his return impatiently expected; fupper was delayed 
and converfation fufpended ; every coach that rattled 
through the ftreet was expected to bring him, and 
every fervant that entered the room was examined 
concerning his departure. At laft the lady returned 
home, and was with great difficulty preferved from 
fits by fpirits and cordials. The family was dif- 
patched a thoufand ways without fuccefs, and the 
houfe was filled with diftraction, till, as we were de- 
liberating what further meafures to take, he returned 
from a petty gaming-table, with his coat torn and 
his head broken ; without his fword, fnuff-box, 
fleeve-buttons, and watch. 


N-I95- THE RAMBLER. 321 

Of this lofs or robbery, he gave little account; 
but inftead of finking into his former lhame, en- 
deavoured to fupport himfelf by furlinefs and afperity. 
<f He was not the firft that had played away a few 
<f trifles, and of what ufe were birth and fortune if 
" they would not admit fome failles and expences ?" 
His mamma was fo much provoked by the coft of 
this prank, that fhe would neither palliate nor con- 
ceal it; and his father, after fome threats of ruftica- 
tion which his fondnefs would not fuffer him to exe- 
cute, reduced the allowance of his pocket, that he 
might not be tempted by plenty to profufion. This 
method would have fucceeded in a place where there 
are no pandars to folly and extravagance, but was now 
likely to have produced pernicious confequences ; 
for we have difcovered a treaty with a broker, whofe 
daughter he feems difpofed to marry, on condition 
that he fhall be lupplied with prefent money, for 
which he is to repay thrice the value at the death of 
his father. 

There was now no time to be loft. A domeftick 
confultation was immediately held, and he was 
doomed to pafs two years in the country-, but his 
mother, touched with his tears, declared, that fhe 
thought him too much of a man to be any longer 
confined to his book, and he therefore begins his 
travels to-morrow under a French governor. 

I am, &c. 


Vot. VI. 

322 THE RAMBLER. N 196. 

NUMB. 196. SATURDAY, February i, 1752, 

Multa ferunt anni ^ententes commoda fecuin 

Mult a recedentes adimunt. HOR. 

The bleflings flowing in with life's full tide, 

Down with our ebb of life decreafing glide. FRANCIS, 

T>AX c fER t in the narrative of his own life, has 

enumerated feveral opinions, which, though he 

thought them evident and inconteftable at his firft 

entrance into the world, time and experience difpofed 

him to change. 

Whoever reviews the flate of his own mind from 
the dawn of manhood to its decline, and confiders 
what he purfued or dreaded, flighted or efteemed at 
different periods of his age, will have no reafon to 
imagine fuch changes of fentiment peculiar to any 
ftation or character. Every man, however carelefs 
and inattentive, has conviction forced upon him; the 
lectures of time obtrude themfelves upon the moft 
unwilling or diflipated auditor; and, by comparing 
our paft with our prefent thoughts, we perceive that 
we have changed our minds, though perhaps we can- 
not difcover when the alteration happened, or by 
what caufes it was produced. 

This revolution of fentiments occafions a perpe- 
tual conteft between the old and young. They who 
imagine themfelves entitled to veneration by the pre- 
rogative of longer life, are inclined to treat the no- 
tions of thofe whofe conduct they fuperintend with fu- 


N 196. THE RAMBLER. 3 > 3 

percilioufnefs and contempt, for want of confidering 
that the future and the paft have different appearances ; 
that the difproportion will always be great between 
expectation and enjoyment, between new poilefTion 
and fatiety ; that the truth of many maxims of age, 
gives too little pleafure to be allowed till it is felt ; 
and that the miieries of life would be increafed be- 
yond all human power of endurance, if we were to 
enter the world with the fame opinions as we carry 
from it. 

We naturally indulge thofe ideas that pleafe us. 
Hope will predominate in every mind, till it has been 
fupprefled by frequent difappointments. The youth 
has not yet difcovered how many evils are continu- 
ally hovering about us, and when he is fet free from 
the {hackles of difcipline, looks abroad into the 
world with rapture ; he fees an elyfian region open 
before him, fo variegated with beauty, and fo ftored 
with pleafure, that his care is rather to accumulate 
good, than to fhun evil; he (lands diftradted by dif- 
ferent forms of delight, and has no other doubt, 
than which path to follow of thofe which all lead 
equally to the bowers of happinels. 

He who has feen only the fuperficies of life believes 
every thing to be what it appears, and rarely fufpefls 
that external fplendor conceals any latent forrow or 
vexation. He never imagines that there may be 
greatnefs without fafety, affluence without content, 
jollity without friendlhip, and folitude without peace. 
He fancies himfelf permitted to cull the blefllngs of 
every condition, and to leave its inconveniencies to 
the idle and the ignorant. He is inclined to believe 
no man miferable but by his own fault, and feldom 

Y 2 looks 

3*4 TH RAMBLER. K*i$6. 

looks with much pity upon failings or mifcarriages^ 
becaufe he thinks them willingly admitted, or negli- 
gently incurred. 

It is impoffible, without pity and contempt, to 
hear a youth of generous fendments and warm ima- 
gination, declaring in the moment of opennefs and 
confidence his defigns and expectations ; becaufe 
long life is poffible, he confiders it as certain, and 
therefore promifes himfelf all the changes of hap- 
pinefs, and provides gratifications for every defire* 
He is, for a time, to give himfelf wholly to frolick 
and diverfion, to range the world in fearch of plea- 
fure, to delight every eye, to gain every heart, and 
to be celebrated equally for his pleafing levities and 
folid attainments, his deep reflections and his fpark- 
ling repartees. He then elevates his views to nobler 4 
enjoyments, and finds all the fcattered excellencies 
of the female world- united in a woman, who prefers 
his addreffes to wealth and titles j he is afterwards 
to engage in bufinefs, to diflipate difficulty, and 
overpower oppofition ; to climb by the mere force of 
merit to fame and greatnefs ; and reward all thofe 
who countenanced his rife, or paid due regard to his 
early excellence. At laft he will retire in peace and 
honour -, contract his views to domeftick pleafures ; 
Form the manners of children like himfelf; obferve 
how every year expands the beauty of his daughters, 
and how his fons catch ardour from their father's 
hiftory; he will give laws to the neighbourhood; 
dictate axioms to pofterity ; and leave the world an 
example of wifdom and of happinefs. 

With hopes like thefe, he fallies jocund into life; 
to little purpofe is he told, that the condition of 


-N 196. THE RAMBLER. 325 

humanity admits no pure and unmingled happinefs ; 
that the exuberant gaiety of youth ends in poverty 
or difeafe -, that uncommon qualifications and con- 
trarieties of excellence, produce envy equally with 
applaufe; that whatever admiration and fondnefs 
may promife him, he muft marry a wife like the 
wives of others, with fome virtues and fome faults, 
and be as often difgufted by her vices, as delighted 
by her elegance j that if he adventures into the circle 
of action, he muft expect to encounter men as artful, 
as daring, as refolute as himfelf ; that of his children, 
fome may be deformed, and others vicious; fome 
may difgrace him by their follies, fome offend him 
by their infolence, and fome exhauft him by their 
profufion. He hears all this with obftinate incre- 
dulity, and wonders by what malignity old age is 
influenced, that it cannot forbear to fill his ears with 
predictions of mifery. 

Among other pleafing errors of young minds, is 
the opinion of their own importance. He that has 
not yet remarked, how little attention his contem- 
poraries can {pare from their own affairs, conceives 
all eyes turned upon himfelf, and imagines every 
one that approaches him to be an enemy or a fol- 
lower, an admirer or a fpy, He therefore confiders 
his fame as involved in the event of every action. 
Many of the virtues and vices of youth proceed from 
this quick fenfe of reputation. This it is that gives 
firmnefs and conftancy, fidelity and difmtereftednefs, 
and it is this that kindles refentment for flight in- 
juries, and dictates all the principles of fanguinary 

Y 3 But 

326 THE RAMBLER. N 196. 

But as time brings him forward into the world, 
he foon difcovers that he only (hares fame or re- 
proach with innumerable partners ; that he is left 
unmarked in the obfcurity of the crowd ; and that 
what he does, whether good or bad, foon gives way 
to new objects of regard. He then eafily fets himfelf 
free from the anxieties of reputation, and confiders 
praife or cenfure as a tranfient breath, which, while 
he hears it, is pafling away, without any lafting 
mifchief or advantage. 

In youth, it is common to meafure right and 
wrong by the opinion of the world, and in age to act 
without any meafure but intereft, and to loie fhame 
without fubilituting virtue. 

Such is the condition of life, that fomething is 
always wanting to happinefs. In youth we have warm 
hopes, which are foon blafted by rafhnefs and negli- 
gence, and great defigns which are defeated by in- 
experience. In age we have knowledge and pru- 
dence without fpirit to exert, or motives to prompt 
them ; we are able to plan fchemes, and regulate 
meafuresj but have not time remaining to bring 
them to completion. 


* x) *" / 

NUMB. 197. TUESDAY, February 4, 1752. 

Cujtts vulturis hoc erit cadaver ? MART. 

Say, to what vulture's fhare this carcafe falls ? F. LEW in. 

To the RAMBLER. 

S I R, 

I BELONG to an order of mankind, confider- 
able at leaft for their number, to which your 
notice has never been formally extended, though 
equally entitled to regard with thofe triflers, who 
have hitherto fupplied you with topicks of amufe- 
ment or inftruction. I am, Mr. Rambler, a legacy- 
hunter; and as every man is willing to think well 
of the tribe in which his name is regiftered, you will 
forgive my vanity if I remind you that the legacy- 
hunter, however degraded by an ill- compounded 
appellation in our barbarous language, was known, 
as I am told, in ancient Rome, by the fonorous titles 
of Captator and Hteredipeta. 

My father was an attorney in the country, who 
married his matter's daughter in hopes of a for- 
tune which he did not obtain, having been, as he 
afterwards difcovered, chofen by her only becaufe 
fhe had no better offer, and was afraid of fervice. 
I was the firft offspring of a marriage thus reci- 
procally fraudulent, and therefore could not be 
expefted to inherit much dignity or generofity, 
and if I had them not from nature, was not likely 
ever to attain themi for in the years which I fpent 

Y 4 'at 

3i8 THE RAMBLER. N* 197. 

at home, I never heard any reafon for ad ion or for- 
bearance, but that we fhould gam money or lofe 
it i nor was taught any other ftyle of commenda- 
tion, than that Mr. Sneaker is a warm man, Mr. 
Gripe has done his bufmefs, and needs care for no- 

My parents, though otherwife not great philofo- 
phers, knew the force of early education, and took 
care that the blank of my understanding fhould be 
filled with impreffions of the value of money. My 
mother ufed, upon all occasions, to inculcate fome 
falutary axioms, fuch as might incite me to keep, what 
I had, and get what I could \ fhe informed me that 
we were in a world, where all muft catch that catch 
can ; and as I grew up, ftored my memory with 
deeper obfervations -, reftrained me from the ufual 
puerile expences, by remarking that many a littlt made 
a mickle; and, when I envied the finery of any of my 
neighbours, told me, that Irag was a good dog, but 
boldfaft was a better. 

I was foon fagacious enough to difcover that I was 
not born to great wealth ; and, having heard no other 
name for happinefs, was fometimes inclined to repine 
at my condition. But my mother always relieved me, 
by faying, that there was money enough in the family, 
that // was good to be of kin to means, that I had no- 
thing to do but to pleafe my friends, and I might 
come to hold up my head with the bed fquire in the 

Thefe fplendid expectations arofe from our alli- 
ance to three perfons of confiderable fortune. My 
mother's aunt had attended on a lady, who, when 
fhe died, rewarded her officioufnefs and fidelity 


Ni97- THE RAMBLER. 329 

with a large legacy. My father had two relations, of 
whom one had broken his indentures and run to fea, 
from whence, after an ahfence of thirty years, he re- 
turned with ten thoufand pounds j and the other had 
lured an heirefs out of a window, who dying of her 
firft child, had left him her eftate, on which he lived 
without any other care than to collect his rents, and 
preferve from poachers that game which he could not 
kill himfelf. 

Thefe hoarders of money were vifited and courted 
by all who had any pretence to approach them, and 
received prefents and compliments from coufms who 
could fcarcely tell the degree of their relation. But 
we had peculiar advantages which encouraged us to 
hope, that we fhould by degrees fupplant our com- 
petitors. My father, by his profeffion, made him- 
felf necefTary in their affairs -, for the failor and the 
chambermaid, he inquired out mortgages and fecu- 
rities, and wrote bonds and contracts j and had en- 
deared himfelf to the old woman, who once rafhly 
lent an hundred pounds without confulting him, by 
informing her, that her debtor was on the point of 
bankruptcy, and polling fo expeditioufly with an ex- 
ecution, that all the other creditors were defrauded. 

To the fquire he was a kind of fteward, and had 
diftinguifhed himfelf in his office by his addrefs in 
raifing the rents, his inflexibility in diftrefilng the 
tardy tenants, and his acutenefs in fetting the parifti 
free from burthenfome inhabitants, by Ihifting them 
off to fome other fettlement. 

Bufmefs made frequent attendance neceffary j trull 
foon produced intimacy ; and fuccefs gave a claim to 
kindnefs ; fo that we had opportunity to practife all 


330 THE RAMBLER. Ni 9 7. 

the arts of flattery and endearment. My mother, 
who could not fupport the thought of lofing any 
thing, determined, that all their fortunes fhould 
centre in me ; and, in the profecution of her fchemes, 
took care to inform me that nothing cofl lefs than good 
words, and that it is comfortable to leap into an eflate 
which another has got. 

She trained me by thefe precepts to the utmoft 
duftility of obedience, and the clofeft attention to 
profit. At an age when other boys are fporting in 
the fields, or murmuring in the fchool, I was con- 
triving fome new method of paying my court -, in- 
quiring the age of my future benefactors j or confi- 
dering how I fhould employ their legacies. 

If our eagernefs of money could have been fatisfied 
with the poffefiions of any one of my relations, they 
might perhaps have been obtained j but as it was im- 
pofiible to be always prefent with all three, our com- 
petitors were bufy to efface any trace of affection 
which we might have left behind ; and fince there 
was not, on any part, fuch fuperiority of merit as 
could enforce a conftant and unfhaken preference, 
whoever was the laft that flattered or obliged had, for 
3 time, the afcendant. 

My relations maintained a regular exchange of 
courtefy, took care to mifs no occafion of condo- 
lence or congratulation, and fent prefents at flated 
times, but had in their hearts not much efteem for 
one another. The feamen looked with contempt 
upon the fquire as a milkfop and a landman, who 
had lived without knowing the points of the com- 
pafs, or feeing any part of the world beyond the 
county-town i and whenever they met, would talk 


Ni97- THE RAMBLER, 331 

of longitude and latitude, and circles and tropicks, 
would fcarcely tell him the hour without fome men- 
tion of the horizon and meridian, nor fhew him the 
news without detecting his ignorance of the fituation 
of other countries. 

The fquire confidered the failor as a rude uncul- 
tivated favage, with little more of human than his 
form, and diverted himfelf with his ignorance of all 
common objects and affairs ; when he could perfuade 
him to go into the field, he always expofed him to 
the fportfmen, by fending him to look for game in 
improper places ; and once prevailed upon him to 
be prefent at the races, only that he might fhow the 
gentlemen how a failor fat upon a horfe. 

The old gentlewoman thought herfelf wifer than 
both, for fhe lived with no fervant but a maid, and 
faved her money. The others were indeed fuffi- 
ciently frugal ; but the fquire could not live with- 
out dogs and horfes, and the failor never fuffered the 
day to pafs but over a bowl of punch, to which, as 
he was not critical in the choice of his company, 
every man was welcome that could roar out a catch, 
or tell a flory. 

All thefe, however, I was to pleafe ; an arduous 
tafk - 3 but what will not youth and avarice undertake ? 
I had an unrefifting fupplenefs of temper, and an un- 
fatiable wifii for riches j I was perpetually mitigated 
by the ambition of my parents, and aflifted occafion- 
ally by their inftructions. What thefe advantages 
enabled me to perform, fhall be told in the next let- 
ter of, 

Yours, &c. 

332 THE RAMBLER. N* 198. 

NUMB. 198. SATURDAY, February 8, 1752. 

Nil mit?z das vivus, dicis pcjt fata daturum. 

Si non infants, fcis, Maro, quid cupiam. MART. 

You've told me, Maro, whilft you live, 

You'd not a iingle penny give, 

But that whene'er you chance to die, 

You'd leave a handfome legacy : 

You muft be mad beyond redrefs, 

If my next wifh you cannot guefs. F. LEWIS. 

To the RAMBLER. 

SI R, 

YO U, who mud have obferved the inclination 
which almoft every man, however unadlive or 
infignificant, difcovers of reprefenting his life as dif- 
tinguifhed by extraordinary events, will not wonder 
that Captator thinks his narrative important enough 
to be continued. Nothing is more common than for 
thofe to teafe their companions with their hiftory, who 
have neither done nor fuffered any thing that can ex- 
cite curiofity, or afford inftrucYion. 

As I was taught to flatter with the firft e(Tays of 
fpeech, and had very early loft every other pafiion in 
the defire of money, I began my purfuit with omens 
of fuccefs j for I divided my officioufnefs fo judi- 
cioufly among my relations, that I was equally the 
favourite of all. When any of them entered the 
door, I went to welcome him with raptures j when 
he went away, I hung down my head, and ibmetimcs 


Ni98 THE RAMBLER. 333 

intreated to go with him with fo much importunity, 
that I very narrowly efcaped a confent which I dreaded 
in my heart. When at an annual entertainment they 
were all together, I had a harder tafkj but plied 
them fo impartially with carefies, that none could 
charge me with negleft ; and when they were wearied 
with my fondnefs and civilities, I was always dif- 
mifled with money to buy playthings. 

Life cannot be kept at a ftand ; the years of in- 
nocence and prattle were foon at an end, and other 
qualifications were neceflfary to recommend me to 
continuance of kindneis. It luckily happened that 
none of my friends had high notions of book-learn- 
ing. The failor hated to fee tall boys fhut up in a 
fchool, when they might more properly be feeing 
the world, and making their fortunes; and was of 
opinion, that when the firft rules of arithmetick were 
known, all that was necefiary to make a man com- 
plete might be learned on fhip-board. The fquire 
only infifted, that fo much fcholarlhip was indifpen- 
fably neceflary, as might confer ability to draw a 
leafe and read the court-hands ; and the old cham- 
bermaid declared loudly her contempt of books, and 
her opinion that they only took the head off the main 

To unite, as well as we could, all their fyftems, 
I was bred at home. Each was taught to believe, 
that I followed his directions, and I gained like- 
wife, as my mother obferved, this advantage, that I 
was always in the way j for Ihe had known many 
favourite children fent to fchools or academies, and 


334 THE RAMBLER. N 198. 

As I grew fitter to be trufted to my own dif- 
cretion, I was often difpatched upon various pre- 
tences to vifit my relations, with directions from 
my parents how to ingratiate myfelf, and drive away 

I was, from my infancy, confidered by the failor 
as a proinifing genius, becauie I liked punch better 
than wine ; and I took care to improve this prepof- 
feffion by continual enquiries about the art of navi- 
gation, the degree of heat and cold in different 
climates, the profits of trade, and the dangers of 
Ihipwreck. I admired the courage of the feamen, 
and gained his heart by importuning him for a re- 
cital of his adventures, and a fight of his foreign 
curiofities. I liftened with an appearance of clofe 
attention to flories which I could already repeat, and 
at the clofe never failed to exprefs my refolution to 
vifit diftant countries, and my contempt of the 
cowards and drones that fpend all their lives in their 
native parifli ; though I had in reality no defire of 
any thing but money, nor ever felt the ftimulations 
of curiofity or ardour of adventure, but would con- 
tentedly have palled the years of Neftor in receiving 
rents, and lending upon mortgages. 

The fquire I was able to pleafe with lefs hypo- 
crify, for I really thought it pleafant enough to kill 
the game and eat it. Some arts of falfehood, how- 
ever, the hunger of gold perfuaded me to praflife, by 
which, though no other mifchief was produced, the 
purity of my thoughts was vitiated, and the reve- 
rence for truth gradually deftroyed. I fometimes 
purchafed filh, and pretended to have caught them , 

1 hired 

N 198. THE RAMBLER. 335 

I hired the countrymen to fhew me partridges, and 
then gave my ur cle intelligence of their haunt; I 
learned the feats of hares at night, and difcovered 
them in the morning with fagacity that raifed the 
wonder and envy of old fportfmen. One only ob- 
ftn.icr.5on to the advancement of my reputation I could 
never fully furmount ; I was naturally a coward, and 
was therefore always left fhamefully behind, when, 
there was a neceffity to leap a hedge, to fwim a river, 
or force the horfes to their utmoft fpeed j but as thefe 
exigencies did not frequently happen, I maintained 
my honour with fufficient fuccefs, and was never left 
out of a hunting party. 

The old chambermaid was not fo certainly, nor fo 
eafily pleafed, for fhe had no predominant paffion but 
avarice, and was therefore cold and inacceffible. She 
had no conception of any virtue in a young man but 
that of faving his money. When fhe heard of my 
exploits in the field, fhe would fhake her head, in- 
quire how much I fhould be the richer for all my 
performances, and lament that fuch fums fhould be 
fpent upon dogs and horfes. If the failor told her 
of my inclination to travel, fhe was fure there was no 
place like England, and could not imagine why any 
man that can live in his own country fhould leave it. 
This fullen and frigid being I found means however 
to propitiate by frequent commendations of frugality, 
and perpetual care to avoid expence. 

From the failor was our firft and moft confiderable 
expectation ; for he was richer than the chamber- 
maid, and older than the fquire. He was fo awk- 
ward and bafhful among women, that we concluded 
7 him 

336 THE RAMBLER. N' i 9 3. 

him fecure from matrimony j and the noify fondnefs 
with which he ufed to welcome me to his houfe, made 
us imagine that he would look out for no other heir, 
and that we had nothing to do but wait patiently for 
his death. But in the midft of our triumph, my 
uncle faluted us one morning with a cry of tranfport, 
and clapping his hand hard on my fhoulder, told me, 
I was a happy fellow to have a friend like him in the 
world, for he came to fit me out for a voyage with 
one of his old acquaintances. I turned pale and 
trembled ; my father told him, that he believed my 
conftitution not fitted to the fea ; and my mother 
burfcing into tears, cried out, that her heart would 
break if fhe loft me. All this had no effect ; the 
failor was wholly infufceptive of the fofter paffions, 
and, without regard to tears or arguments, perfiited 
in his refolution to make me a man. 

We were obliged to comply in appearance, and 
preparations were accordingly made. I took leave 
of my friends with great alacrity, proclaimed the be- 
neficence of my uncle with the highefb drains of gra- 
titude, and rejoiced at the opportunity now put into 
my hands of gratifying my thirft of knowledge. But 
a week before the day appointed for my departure 
I fell fick by my mother's direction, and refufed all 
food but what fhe privately brought me ; whenever 
my uncle vifited me I was lethargick or delirious, 
but took care in my raving fits to talk incefTantly of 
travel and merchandize. The room was kept dark ; 
the table was filled with vials and gallipots ; my 
mother was with difficulty perfuaded not to endanger 
her life with nocturnal attendance j my father lament- 

NO 1 93. THE RAMBLER. 337 

cd the lofs of the profits of the voyage ; and fuch 
fuperfiuity of artifices was employed, as perhaps 
might have difcovered the cheat to a man of pe- 
netration. But the failor, unacquainted with fub- 
tilties and ftratagems, was eafily deluded -, and as 
the fhip could not ftay for my recovery, fold the 
cargo, and left me to re-eftablifh my health at 

I was fent to regain my flefli in a purer air, left it 
fhould appear never to have been wafted, and in two 
months returned to deplore my difappointment. My 
uncle pitied my dejection, and bid me prepare myfelf 
againft next year, for no land lubber fhould touch his 

A reprieve however was obtained, and perhaps 
fome new ftratagem might have fucceeded another 
fpring; but my uncle unhappily made amorous ad- 
vances to my mother's maid, who, to promote fb 
advantageous a match, difcovered the fecret with 
which only fhe had been intruded. He itormed, 
and raved, and declaring that he would have heirs of 
his own, and not give his fubftance to cheats and 
cowards, married the girl in two days, and has now 
four children. 

Cowardice is always fcorned, and deceit univerfally 
detefted. I found my friends, if not wholly alien- 
ated, at leaft cooled in their affection ; the fquire, 
though he did not wholly difcard me, was lefs fond, 
and often enquired when I would go to fea. I was 
obliged to bear his infults, and endeavoured to re- 
kindle his kindnefs by affiduity and refpect; but all 
my care was vain ; he died without a will, and the 
eftate devolved to the legal heir. 

VOL. VI. Z Thu * 

333 THE RAMBLER. N 198. 

Thus has the folly of my parents condemned me 
to fpend in flattery and attendance thofe years in 
which I might have been qualified to place myfelf 
above hope or fear. I am arrived at manhood with- 
out any ufeful art or generous fentiment j and, if the 
old woman fhould likewife at laft deceive me, am in 
danger at once of beggary and ignorance. 

I am, 




NUMB. 199, TUESDAY, February n, 1752. 

Decclor, obfcurus, vilis, non ilk repexam 

Cefariem regum, nee Candida virgims ornat 

Colla, nee infigni fplendet per cingula morfu ; 

Sed'novafe nigri videas miracula faxi, 

Tune fuperat pulcbros cult us, & quicquid Eois 

Indus littoribus rubrafcrutatur in alga. CLAUDIA N us; 

Obfcure, unpris'd, and dark, the magnet lies, 
Nor lures the fearch of avaricious eyes, 
Nor binds the neck, nor fparkles in the hair, 
Nor dignifies the great, nor decks the fair. 
But fearch the wonders of the dufky flone, 
And own all glories of the mine outdone, 
Each grace of form, each ornament of ftate. 
That decks the fair, or dignifies the great. 

ft the RAMBLER. 

S I R, 

THOUGH you have feldom digrefTed from 
moral fubjefts, I fuppofe you are not fo rigor- 
ous or cynical as to deny the value or ufefulnefs of 
natural philofophy ; or to have lived in this age of 
inquiry and experiment, without any attention to the 
wonders every day produced by the pokers of mag- 
netifm and the wheels of eleclricity. At leaft, I 
may be allowed to hope that, fince nothing is more 
contrary to moral excellence than envy, you will not 
refufe to promote the happinefs of others, merely be- 
caufe you cannot partake of their enjoyments. 

Z 2 In 

340 THE RAMBLER. N 199. 

In confidence, therefore, that your ignorance has 
not made you an enemy to knowledge, I offer you 
the honour of introducing to the notice of the 
publick, an adept, who having long laboured for 
the benefit of mankind, is not willing, like too 
many of his predecefibrs, to conceal his fecrets in 
the grave. 

Many have fignalized themfelves by melting their 
eftates in crucibles. I was born to no fortune, and 
therefore had only my mind and body to devote to 
knowledge, and the gratitude of poftericy will atteft, 
that neither mind nor body have been fpared. I have 
fat whole weeks without fieep by the fide of an atha- 
nor, to watch the moment of projection; I have made 
the firft experiment in nineteen diving engines of new 
conftruction ; I have fallen eleven times fpeechlefs 
under the fhock of electricity j I have twice diflo- 
cated my limbs, and once fractured my fkull, in 
eflaying to fly ; and four times endangered my life by 
fubmitting to the transfufion of blood. 

In the firft period of my ftudies, I exerted the 
powers of my body more than thofe of my mind, 
and was not without hopes that fame might be pur- 
chafed by a few broken bones without the toil of think- 
ing ; but having been fhattered by fome violent ex- 
periments, and conftrained to confine myfelf to my 
books, I paded fix and thirty years in fearching the 
treafures of ancient wifdom, but am atlaft amply re- 
compenfed for all my perfeverance. 

The curiofity of the prefent race of philofophers 
having been long exercifed upon electricity, has been 
lately transformed to magnetifm; the qualities oT the 


N 199. THE RAMBLER. 5 . f i 

loadltone have been inveftigated, if not with much 
advantage, yet with great applaufe; and as the hi^hefc 
praife of art is to imitate nature, I hope no man will 
think the makers of artificial magnets celebrated or 
reverenced above their deferts. 

I have for fome time employed myfclf in the fame 
practice, but with deeper knowledge and more ex- 
tenfive views. While my contemporaries were 
touching needles and raifing weights, or bufying 
themfelves with inclination and variation, I have been 
examining thofe qualities of magnetifm which may be 
applied to the accommodation and happineis of com- 
mon life, I have left to inferior understandings the 
care of conducting the failor through the hazards of 
the ocean, and referved to myfelf the more difficult 
and illuftrious province of preferving the connubial 
compact from violation, and fetting mankind free for 
ever from the danger of fuppofititious children, and 
the torments of fruitlefs vigilance and anxious fufpi- 

To defraud any man of his due praife is unworthy 
of a philofopher ; I lhall therefore openly confefs, 
that I owe the firft hint of this ineftimable fecret to 
the Rabbi Abraham Ben Hannafe, who, in his treatife 
of precious ftones, has left this account of the mag- 
net : ND'DK^Npn, &c. " The calamita, or load- 
" ftone that attracts iron, produces many bad fanta- 
" fies in man. Women fly from this ftone. If 
" therefore any hufband be difturbed with jealoufy, 
< c and fear left his wife converfes with other men, 
" let him lay this ftone upon her while fhe is afleep. 
" If fhe be pure, Ihe will, when fhe wakes, clafpher 

Z 3 " hufband 

342 THE RAMBLER. N 199. 

cc hufoand fondly in her arms ; but if ilie be guilty, 
" Hie will fall out of bed, and run away." 

When firft I read this wonderful paffage, I could 
not eafily conceive why it had remained hitherto un- 
regarded in fuch a zealous competition for magnetical 
fame. It would furely be unjuft to fufpect that any 
of the candidates are ftrangers to the name or works 
of Rabbi Abraham, or to conclude, from a late edict 
of the royal fociety in favour of the Engli/h language, 
that philofophy and literature are no longer to act in 
concert. Yet, how fhould a quality fo ufeful efcape 
promulgation but by the obfcurity of the language 
in which it was delivered ? Why are footmen and 
chambermaids paid on every fide for keeping fecrets 
which no caution nor expence could fecure from the 
all- penetrating magnet? Or, why are fo many wit- 
neflfes fummoned, and fo many artifices practifed, to 
difcover what fo eafy an experiment would infallibly 
reveal ? 

Full of this perplexity, I read the lines of Abra- 
ham to a friend, who advifed me not to expofe my 
life by a mad indulgence of the love of fame j he 
warned me by the fate of Orpheus, that knowledge 
or genius could give no protection to the invader of 
female prerogatives ; affured me that neither the 
armour of Achilles, nor the antidote of Mithridates, 
would be able to preferve me ; and counfelled me, if 
I could not live without renown, to atrempt the acqui- 
ficion of univerfal empire, in which the honour would 
perhaps be equal, and the danger certainly be lefs. 

I, a folitary ftudent, pretend not to much know- 
ledge of the world, but am unwilling to think it fo 


NO 199. THE RAMBLER. 343 

generally corrupt, as that a fcheme for the deteflion 
of incontinence fhould bring any danger upon its in- 
ventor. My friend has indeed told me that all the 
women will be my enemies, and that however I flatter 
myfelf with hopes of defence from the men, I fhall cer- 
tainly find myfelf deferted in the hour of danger. Of 
the young men, faid he, fome will be afraid of fliaring 
the difgrace of their mothers, and fome the danger 
of their miftrelTes ; of thofe who are married, part 
are already convinced of the falfehood of their wives, 
and part fhut their eyes to avoid conviction j few ever 
fought for virtue in marriage, and therefore few will 
try whether they have found it. Almoft every man 
is carelefs or timorous, and to truft is eafier and fafer 
than to examine. 

Thefe obfervations difcouraged me, till I began to 
confider what reception I was likely to find among the 
ladies, whom I have reviewed under the three clafles 
of maids, wives, and widows, and cannot but hope 
that I may obtain fome countenance among them. 
The fingle ladies I fuppofe univerfally ready to patro- 
nize my method, by which connubial wickednefs may 
be detected, fince no woman marries with a previous 
defign to be unfaithful to her hufband. And to keep 
them fteady in my caufe, I promife never to fell one 
of my magnets to a man who fteals a girl from 
fchool j marries a woman forty years younger than 
himfelf ; or employs the authority of parents to ob- 
tain a wife without her own confent. 

Among the married ladies, notwithftanding the 
infmuations of flander, yet I refolve to believe, that 
the greater part are my friends, and am at lead con- 
vinced, that they who demand the teft, and appear on 

Z 4 my 

,344 THE RAMBLER. K 199. 

my fide, will fupply, by their fpirit, the deficiency of 
their numbers, and that their enemies will fhrink and 
quake at the fight of a magnet, as the Haves of Scy- 
thia fled from the fcourge. 

The widows will be confederated in my favour by 
their curiofity, if not by their virtue ; for it may be 
obferved, that women who have outlived their huf- 
bands, always think themfelves entitled to fuperin- 
tend the conduct of young wives \ and as they are 
themfelves in no danger from this magnetick trial, I 
fhall expect them to be eminently and unanimoufly 
zealous in recommending it. 

With thefe hopes I fhall, in a fhort time, offer to 
fale magnets armed with a particular metallick com- 
poHtion, which concentrates their virtue, and deter- 
mines their agency. It is known that the efficacy 
of the magnet, in common operations, depends much 
upon its armature, and it cannot be imagined, that 
a flone, naked or cafed only in the common manner, 
will difcover the virtues afcribed to it by Rabbi Abra- 
ham. The fecret of this metal I {hall carefully con- 
ceal, and, therefore, am not afraid of imitators, 
nor fhall trouble the offices with folicitations for a 

I fhall fell them of different fizes, and various de- 
grees of ftrength. I have fome of a bulk proper to 
be hung at the bed's head, as fcare-crows, and fome 
fo fmall that they may be eafily concealed. Some I 
have ground into oval forms to be hung at watches j 
and fome, for the curious, I have fet in wedding- 
rings, that ladies may never want an atteftation of 
their innocence. Some I can produce fo fluggifh and 
inert, that they will not act before the third failure ; 


Ni99- THE RAMBLER. 345 

and others fo vigorous and animated, that they exert 
their influence againft unlawful wifhes, if they have 
been willingly and deliberately indulged. As it is 
my practice honeftly to tell my cuftomers the pro- 
perties of my magnets, I can judge by their choice 
of the delicacy of their fentiments. Many have been 
content to fpare coft by purchafing only the loweft 
degree of efficacy, and all have ftarted with tenor 
from thofe which operate upon the thoughts. One 
young lady only fitted on a ring of the ftrongeft 
energy, and declared that fhe fcorned to feparate her 
wifhes from her acts, or allow herfelf to think what 
fhe was forbidden to practife. 

I am, &c. 


346 THE RAMBLER. N 200. 

NUMB. 200. SATURDAY, February 15, 1752. 

Nemo petit modicis qu<e mittebantur amicis 

A Seneca, qu/z Pifo bonus, qu<s Cotta Jolebat 

Largiri, nempe et titulis et fafcibus olim 

Major babebatur danandi gloria ; folum 

Pofcimus ut canes ci<viliter ; hoc face, et efto 

Efto, et nunc multi, dives tibi, pauper amicis* Juv. 

No man expefts (for who fo much a fot 

Who has the times he lives in fo forgot ?) 

What Seneca, what Pifo us'd to fend, 

To raife or to fupport a finking friend. 

Thofe godlike men, to wanting virtue kind, 

Bounty well plac'd, preferr'd, and well defign'd, 

To all their titles, all that height of pow'r, 

Which turns the brains of fools, and fools alone adore. 

When your poor client is condemn'd t' attend, 

'Tis all we afk, receive him as a friend : 

Defcend to this, and then we afk no more ; 

Rich to yourfelf, to all befide be poor. BOWLES. 

?o the RAMBLER. 


SUCH is the tendernefs or infirmity of many 
minds, that when any afflidlion opprefles them, 
they have immediate recourle to lamentation and 
complaint, which, though it can only be allowed 
reafonable when evils admit of remedy, and then only 
when addrefied to thofe from whom the remedy is 
expected, yet feems only in hopelefs and incurable 
diftrefTes to be natural, fince thole by whom it is not 
indulged, imagine that they give a proof of extraor- 
dinary fortitude by fuppreffing it, 

7 I am 

N 200. THE RAMBLER. 347 

I am one of thofe who, with the Sancbo of Ser- 
vantes, leave to higher characters the merit of fuffer- 
ing in filence, and give vent without fcruple to any 
forrow that fwells in my heart. It is therefore to me 
a fevere aggravation of a calamity, when it is fuch as 
in the common opinion will not juftify the acerbity 
of exclamation, or fupport the folemnity of vocal 
grief. Yet many pains are incident to a man of de- 
licacy, which the unfeeling world cannot be per- 
fuaded to pity, and which, when they are feparated 
from their peculiar and perfonal circumftances, will 
never be conlidered as important enough to claim 
attention, or defer ve redrefs. 

Of this kind will appear to grofs and vulgar ap- 
prehenfions, the miferies which I endured in a morn- 
ing vifit to Profpero, a man lately raifed to wealth by 
a lucky project, and too much intoxicated by fudden 
elevation, or too little polifhed by thought and con- 
verfation, to enjoy his prefent fortune with elegance 
and decency. 

We fet out in the world together j and for a long 
time mutually affifted each other in our exigencies, 
as either happened to have money or influence be- 
yond his immediate necefiities. You know that 
nothing generally endears men fo much as participa- 
tion of dangers and misfortunes ; I therefore always 
confidered Profpero as united with me in the ftrongeft 
league of kindnefs, and imagined that our friendfhip 
was only to be broken by the hand of death. I felt 
at his fudden fhoot of fuccefs an honeft and difinte- 
refted joy ; but as I want no part of his fuperfluities, 
am not willing to defcend from that equality in 

which we hitherto have lived, 



Our intimacy was regarded by me as a difpenfa- 
tion from ceremonial vifits ; and it was fo long be- 
fore I faw him at his new houfe, that he gently com- 
plained of my neglect, and obliged me to come on a 
day appointed. I kept my promife, but found that 
the impatience of my friend arofe not from any defire 
to communicate his happinefs, but to enjoy his fupe- 

When I told my name at the door, the footman 
went to fee if his matter was at home, and, by the 
tardinefs of his return, gave me reafon to fufpect that 
time was taken to deliberate. He then informed me, 
that Profpero defired my company, and fhowed the 
flaircafe carefully fecured by mats from the pollution 
of my feet. The beft apartments were oftentatioufly 
fet open, that I might have a diftant view of the mag- 
nificence which I was not permitted to approach ; 
and my old friend receiving me with all the infolence 
of condefcenfion at the top of the (lairs, conducted 
me to a back room, where he told me he always 
breakfafted when he had not great company. 

On the floor where we fat, lay a carpet covered 
with a cloth, of which Profpero ordered his fervant to 
lift up a corner, that I might contemplate the bright- 
nefs of the colours, and the elegance of the texture, 
and afked me whether I had ever feen any thing fo 
fine before ? I did not gratify his folly with any out- 
cries of admiration, but coldly bad the footman lee 
down the cloth. 

We then fat down, and I began to hope that pride 
was glutted with perfecution, when Profpero defired 
that I would give the fervant leave to adjuft the cover 
of my chair, which was flipt a little afide to Ihow the 

damafk ; 

N 9 200. THE RAMBLER. 

damafk; he informed me that he had befpoke ordi- 
nary chairs for common uf. A , but had been di lap- 
pointed by his tradefman. I put the chair afide with 
my foot, and drew another fo haftily, that I was en- 
treated not to rumple the carpet. 

Breakfaft was at laft fet, and as I was not willing 
to indulge the peevifhnefs that began to feize me, I 
commended the tea j Profpero then told me, that an- 
other time I Ihould tafte his fmeft fort, but that he 
had only a very fmall quantity remaining, and re- 
ferved it for thofe whom he thought himfelf obliged 
to treat with particular refpect. 

While we were converfing upon fuch fubjefb as 
imagination happened to fuggeft, he frequently di- 
grefied into directions to the fervant that waited, 
or made a flight enquiry after the jeweller or filver- 
fmith j and once, as I was purfuing an argument 
with fome degree of earneftnefs, he darted from his 
pofture of attention, and ordered, that if lord Lofty 
called on him that morning, he Ihould be fhown into 
the beft parlour. 

My patience was not yet wholly fubdued. I was 
willing to promote his fatisfaction, and therefore ob- 
ferved, that the figures on the china were eminently 
pretty. Profpero had now an opportunity of calling 
for his Drefden china, which, fays he, I always affb- 
ciate with my chafed tea-kettle. The cups were 
brought j I once refolved not to have looked upon 
them, but my curiofity prevailed. When I had ex- 
amined them a little, Profpero defired me to fet them 
down, for they who were accuftomed only to com- 
mon dirties, feldom handled china with much care. 
You will, I hope, commend my philofophy, when 

I tell 

350 THE RAMBLER. N" 200. 

I tell you that I did not dafh his baubles to the 

He was now fo much elevated with his own great- 
nefs, that he thought fome humility necefiary to avert 
the glance of envy, and therefore told me, with an air 
of loft compofure, that I was not to eftimate life by 
external appearance, that all thefe fhining acquifi- 
tions had added little to his happinefs, that he ftill 
remembered with pleafure the days in which he and 
I were upon the level, and had often, in the moment 
of reflection, been doubtful, whether he fhould lofe 
much by changing his condition for mine. 

I began now to be afraid left his pride fhould, by 
filence and fubmiffion, be emboldened to infults that 
could not eafily be borne, and therefore coolly con- 
fidered, how I fhould reprefs it without fuch bitter- 
nefs of reproof as I was yet unwilling to ufe. But he 
interrupted my meditation, by afking leave to be 
drefled, and told me, that he had promifed to attend 
fome ladies in the park, and, if I was going the fame 
way, would take me in his chariot. I had no incli- 
nation to any other, favours, and therefore left him 
without any intention of feeing him again, unlefs fome 
misfortune fhould reftore his underftanding. 

I am, &c. 


Though I am not wholly infenfible of the provo- 
cations which my correfpondent has received, I can- 
not altogether commend the keennefs of his refent- 
ment, nor encourage him to perfift in his refolution 
of breaking off all commerce with his old acquaint- 

N2oo. THE RAMBLER. 35r 

ance. One of the golden precepts of Pythagoras di- 
rects, that a friend Jhould not be hated for little faults ; 
and furely he, upon whom nothing worfe can be 
charged, than that he mats his flairs, and covers his 
carpet, and fets out his finery to fhow before thofe 
whom he does not admit to ufe it, has yet committed 
nothing that fhould exclude him from common de- 
grees of kindnefs. Such improprieties often pro- 
ceed rather from ftupidity than malice. Thofe who 
thus fhine only to dazzle, are influenced merely by 
cuftom and example, and neither examine, nor are 
qualified to examine, the motives of their own prac- 
tice, or to ftate the nice limits between elegance and 
oftentation. They are often innocent of the pain 
which their vanity produces, and infult others when 
they have no worfe purpofe than to pleafe them- 

He that too much refines his delicacy will always 
endanger his quiet. Of thofe with whom nature and 
virtue oblige us to converfe, fome are ignorant of the 
arts of pleafing, and offend when they defign to ca- 
refs j fome are negligent, and gratify themfelves 
without regard to the quiet of another ; fome, per- 
haps, are malicious, and feel no greater fatisfaftion 
in profperity, than that of raifing envy and trampling 
inferiority. But whatever be the motive of infult, 
it is always beft to overlook it, for folly fcarcely can 
deferve refentment, and malice is punilhed by ne- 

352 THE RAMBLER. N 201. 

NUMB. 201. TUESDAY, February 18, 1752. 

. ~ Sanclus haberl 

Promtffique tenax difiis faflifque merer is ? 

Agnofco procerem . J u v . 

Convince the world that you're devout and true ; 

Be juft in all you fay, and all you do ; 

Whatever be your birth, you're fure to be 

A peer of the firft magnitude to me. STEPNEY. 

pOTLE has obferved, that the excellency of ma- 
nufactures, and the facility of labour, would be 
much promoted, if the various expedients and con- 
trivances which lie concealed in private hands, were 
by reciprocal communications made generally known; 
for there are few operations that are not performed 
by one or other with fome peculiar advantages, 
which though fmgly of little importance, would by 
conjunction and concurrence open new inlets to 
knowledge, and give new powers to diligence. 

There are, in like manner, feveral moral excellen- 
cies diftributed among the different claffes of a com- 
munity. It was faid by Cujacius, that he never read 
more than one book, by which he was not inftructed; 
and he that fhall enquire after virtue with ardour and 
attention, will feldom find a man by whofe example 
or fentiments he may not be improved. 

Every profeffion has fome eflential and appropri- 
ate virtue, without which there can be no hope of 
honour or fuccefs, and which, as it is more or lefs 


N 2oi. THE RAMBLER. 353 

cultivated, confers within its fphere of activity dif- 
ferent degrees of merit and reputation. As the 
aftrologers range the fubdivifions of mankind under 
the planets which they fuppofe to influence their 
lives, the moralift may diftribute them according to 
the virtues which they neceffarily practife, and con- 
fider them as diftinguifhed by prudence or fortitude, 
diligence or patience. 

So much are the modes of excellence fettled by 
time and place, that men may be heard boafting in 
one ftreet of that which they would anxioufly con- 
ceal in another. The grounds of fcorn and efteem, 
the topicks of praife and fatire, are varied according 
to the feveral virtues or vices which the courfe of life 
has difpofed men to admire or abhorj but he who is 
felicitous for his own improvement, muft not be li- 
mited by local reputation, but felect from every tribe 
of mortals their characteriftical virtues, and conftel- 
late in himfelf the fcattered graces which fhine fingle 
in other men. 

The chief praife to which a trader afpires is that 
of punctuality, or an exact and rigorous obfervance 
of commercial engagements j nor is there any vice 
of which he fo much dreads the imputation, as of 
negligence and inftability. This is a quality which 
the intereft of mankind requires to be diffufed 
through all the ranks of life, but which many feem 
to confider as a vulgar and ignoble virtue, below 
the ambition of greatnefs or attention of wit, fcarcely 
requifite among men of gaiety and fpirit, and fold 
at its higheft rate when it is facrificed to a frolick or 

VOL. VI. A a Every 

354 THE RAMBLER. N 201. 

Every man has daily occafion to remark what vexa- 
tions arife -from this privilege of deceiving one ano- 
ther. The active and vivacious have io long dif- 
dained the reftraints of truth, that promiies and 
appointments have loft their cogency, and both 
parties neglect their ftipuladons, becaufe each con- 
cludes that they will be broken by the other. 

Negligence is firft admitted in fmall affairs, and 
ftrengthened by petty indulgences. He that is not 
yet hardened by cuftom, ventures not on the viola- 
tion of important engagements, but thinks himfelf 
bound by his word in cafes of property or danger, 
though he allows himfeif to forget at what time he 
is to meet ladies in the park, or at what tavern his 
friends are expecting him. 

This laxity - of honour would be more tolerable, 
if it could be reftrained to the play-houfe, the ball- 
room, or the card -table j yet even there it is fuf- 
ficiently troublelbme, and darkens thofe moments 
with expectation, fufpenfe, and refentment, which 
are fet aftde for pleafure, and from which we natu- 
rally hope for unmingled enjoyment, and total re- 
laxation. But he that fuffers the flighted breach in 
his morality, can feldom tell what fhall enter it, or 
how wide it fhall be made ; when a paffage is open, 
the influx of corruption is every moment wearing 
down oppofition, and by flow degrees deluges the 

AUger entered the world a youth of lively ima- 
gination, extenfive views, and untainted principles. 
His curiofity incited him to range from place to 
place, and try all the varieties of converfation -, his 



elegance of addrefs and fertility of ideas, gained him 
friends wherever he appeared; or at leaft he found 
the general kindnefs of reception always fhown to a 
young man whofe birth and fortune give him a claim 
to notice, and who has neither by vice or folly de- 
ftroyed his privileges. Aliger was pleafed with this 
general fmile of mankind, and was induftrious to 
preferve it by compliance and officioufnefs, but did 
not fuffer his defire of pleafing to vitiate his inte- 
grity. It was his cftablifhed maxim, that a promife 
is never to be broken ; nor was it without long re- 
luctance that he once fuffered himfelf to be drawn 
away from a feftal engagement by the importunity 
of another company. 

He fpent the evening, as is ufual, in the rudi- 
ments of vice, in perturbation and LmperfecT: en- 
joyment, and met his difappointed friends in the 
morning, with confufion and excufes. His compa- 
nions, not accuflomed to fuch fcrupulous anxiety, 
laughed at his imeafinefs, compounded the offence 
for a bottle, gave him courage to break his word 
again, and again levied the penalty. He ventured 
the fame experiment upon another fociety, and 
found them equally ready to confider it as a venial 
fault, always incident to a man of quicknefs and 
gaiety j till by degrees, he began to think himfelf 
at liberty to follow the laft invitation, and was no 
longer fhocked at the turpitude of falfehood. He 
made no difficulty to promife his prefence at dif- 
tant places, and if liftleflhefs happened to creep 
upon him, would fit at home with great tranquil- 
lity, and has often funk to fleep in a chair, while 

A a 2 he 

356 THE RAMBLER. N 2 oi. 

he held ten tables in continual expectations of his 

It was fo pleafant to live in perpetual vacancy, 
that he foon difmiired his attention as an ufelefs in- 
cumbrance, and refigned himfclf to carelefnefs and 
diffipation, without any regard to the future or the 
paft, or any other motive of action than the impulfe 
of a fudden defire, or the attraction of immediate 
pleafure. The abfent were immediately forgotten, 
and the hopes or fears felt by others, had no influ- 
ence upon his conduct. He was in fpeculation 
completely juft, but never kept his promife to a 
creditor ; he was benevolent, but always deceived 
thofe friends whom he undertook to patronize or 
affift ; he was prudent, but fuffered his affairs to be 
embarrafTed for want of regulating his accounts at 
ilated times. He courted a young lady, and when 
the fettlements were drawn, took a ramble into the 
country on the day appointed to fign them. He 
refolved to travel, and fent his chefts on fhip- 
board, but delayed to follow them till he loft his 
pafTage. He was fummoned as an evidence in a 
caufe of great importance, and loitered on the way 
till the trial was paft. It is faid, that when he 
had, with great expence, formed an intereft in a 
borough, his opponent contrived, by fome agents, 
who knew his temper, to lure him away on the day 
of election. 

His benevolence draws him into the commiffion 
of a thoufand crimes, which others lefs kind or 
civil would efcape. His courtefy invites applica- 
tion ; his promifes produce dependance 5 he has his 


N20i. THE RAMBLER. 357 

pockets filled with petitions, which he intends fome 
time to deliver and enforce, and his table covered 
with letters of requeft, with which he purpofes to 
comply ; but time flips imperceptibly away, while 
he is either idle or bufy; his friends lofe their op- 
portunities, and charge upon him their mifcarriages 
and calamities. 

This character, however contemptible, is not pe- 
culiar to Allger. They whofe activity of imagina- 
tion is often fhifting the fcenes of expectation, are 
frequently fubjeft to fuch fallies of caprice as make 
all their actions fortuitous, deftroy the value of their 
friendfhip, obftruct the efficacy of their virtues, and 
fet them below the meaneft of thofe that perfift in 
their relblutions, execute what they defign, and per- 
form what they have promifed. 

A a 3 

353 THE RAMBLER. N 202. 

NUMB, 202. SATURDAY, February 22, 1752. 

. 7' ar/iapss, Ass^wrfia, ^e'fei. CALL I M ACHUS. 

From no affliftion is the poor exempt ; 

He thinks each eye furveys him with contempt, 

Unmanly poverty fubdues the heart, 

Cankers each wound, and fharpens ev'ry dart. F.LEWIS. 

AMONG thofe who have endeavoured to pro- 
mote learning, and rectify judgment, it has 
been long cuftomary to complain of the abufe of 
words, which are often admitted to fignify things fo 
different, that, inftead of affifting the underflanding 
as vehicles of knowledge, they produce error, dif- 
fention, and perplexity, becaufe what is affirmed in 
one fenfe, is received in another. 

If this ambiguity fometimes embarraffes the mod 
folemn controverfies, and obfcures the demonftra- 
tions of fcience, it may well be expected to infeft 
the pompous periods of declaimers, whofe purpofe 
is often only to amufe with fallacies, and change the 
colours of truth and falfehoodj or the mufical com- 
pofitions of poets, whofe ftyle is profefledly figura- 
tive, and whofe art is imagined to confift in diftort- 
ing words from their original meaning. 

There are few words of which the reader believes 
himfelf better to know the import than of poverty j 


N202. THE RAMBLER. 3> - y 

yet whoever ftudies either the poets or philofophers, 
will find fuch an account of the condition expieficd 
by that term as his experience or observation will 
not eafily difcover to be true. Inftead of the mean- 
nefs, diftrefs, complaint, anxiety, and dependance, 
which have hitherto been combined' in his ideas of 
poverty, he will read of content, innocence, and cheer- 
fulnefs, of health and fafety, tranquillity and freedom; 
of pleafures not known but to men unencumbered 
with pofleffions ; and of deep that fheds his balfamick 
anodynes only on the cottage. Such are the blef- 
fings to be obtained by the refignation of riches, that 
kings might defcend from their thrones, and gene- 
rals retire from a triumph, only to {lumber undif- 
turbed in the elylium of poverty. 

If thefe authors do not deceive us, nothing can 
be more abfurd than that perpetual con ted for wealth 
which keeps the world in commotion j nor any. com- 
plaints more juftly cenfured than thofe which proceed 
from want of the gifts of fortune, which we are taught 
by the great matters of moral wifdom to confider as 
golden fhackles, 'by which the wearer is at once dif- 
abled and adorned; as lufcious poifons which may 
for a time pleafe the palate, but foon betray their ma- 
lignity by languor and by pain. . . 

It is the great privilege of poverty to be happy 
unenvied, to be healthful without phyfick, and fe- 
cure without a guard ; to obtain from the bounty of 
nature, what the great and wealthy are compelled to 
procure by the help of artifts and attendants, of flat- 
terers and fpies. 

But it will be found upon a nearer view, that 

they who extol the happinefs of poverty, do not 

A a 4 mean 

360 THE RAMBLER. N* 202. 

mean the fame ftate with thofe who deplore its 
miferies. Poets have their imaginations filled with 


ideas of magnificence ; and being accuftomed to 
contemplate the downfal of empires, or to contrive 
forms of lamentations for rnonarchs in diftrefs, rank 
all the claffes of mankind in a ftate of poverty, who 
make no approaches to the dignity of crowns. To 
be poor, in the epick language, is only not to com- 
mand the wealth of nations, nor to have fleets and 
armies in pay. 

Vanity has perhaps contributed to this impro- 
priety of ftyle. He that wifhes to become a philo- 
ibpher at a cheap rate, eafily gratifies his ambition 
by fubmitting to poverty when he does not feel it, 
and by boafting his contempt of riches, when he 
has already more than he enjoys. He who would 
ihow the extent of his views, and grandeur of his 
conceptions, or difcover his acquaintance with fplen- 
dor and magnificence, may talk like Cowley of an 
humble ftation and quiet obfcurity, of the paucity 
of nature's wants, and the inconveniencies of fuper- 
fluity, and at laft, like him, limit his defires to five 
hundred pounds a year; a fortune indeed not exu- 
berant when we compare it with the expences of 
pride and luxury, but to which it little becomes a 
philofopher to affix the name of poverty, fmce no 
man can, with any propriety, be termed poor, who 
does not fee the greater part of mankind richer than 

As little is the general condition of human life un- 
derftood by the panegyrifts and hiftorians, who amuie 
us with accounts of the poverty of heroes and fages. 
Riches are of no value in themfelves, their ufe is dif- 


N202. THE RAMBLER. 361 

covered only in that which they procure. They are 
not coveted, unlefs by narrow underftandings, which 
confound the means with the end, bun for the fake of 
power, influence, and efteem ; or, by fome of lefs 
elevated and refined fentiments, as neceffary to fen- 
fual enjoyment. 

The pleafures of luxury, many have, without un- 
common virtue, been able to defpife, even when af- 
fluence and idlenefs have concurred to tempt them ; 
and therefore he who feels nothing from indigence but 
the want of gratifications which he could not in any 
other condition make confident with innocence, has 
given no proof of eminent patience. Efteem and in- 
fluence every man defires, but they are equally pleaf- 
ing, and equally valuable, by whatever means they 
are obtained j and whoever has found the art of fe- 
curing them without the help of money, ought, in 
reality, to be accounted rich, fince he has all that 
riches can purchafe to a wife man. Cincinnatus, 
though he lived upon a few acres, cultivated by his 
own hand, was fufEciently removed from all the evils 
generally comprehended under the name of poverty, 
when his reputation was fuch, that the voice of his 
country called him from his farm to take abfolute 
command into his hand; nor was Diogenes much 
mortified by his refidence in a tub, where he was 
honoured with the vifit of Alexander the Great. 

The fame fallacy has conciliated veneration to the 
religious orders. When we behold a man abdicating 
the hope of terreflrial poflefiions, and precluding 
himfelf, by an irrevocable vow, from the purfuit and 
acquifition of all that his fellow-beings confider as 
worthy of wifhes and endeavours, we are immediately 


362 THE RAMBLER. N 202. 

ftruck with the purity, abftraclion, and firmnefs of 
his mind, and regard him as wholly employed in fe- 
curing the interefts of futurity, and devoid of any 
other care than to gain at whatever price the fureft 
paffage to eternal reft. 

Yet, what can the votary be juftly faid to have loft 
of his prefent happinefs ? If he refides in a convent, 
he converfes only with men whofe condition is the 
fame with his own ; he has from the munificence of 
the founder all the neceffaries of life, and is fafe from 
that deftitution, which Hooker declares to bejuch an 
impediment to virtue, as, till it be removed, Jujferetb 
not the mind of man to admit any other care. All 
temptations to envy and competition are (hut out 
from his retreat j he is not pained with the fight of 
unattainable dignity, nor infulted with the blufter of 
infolence, or the fmile of forced familiarity. If he 
wanders abroad, the fanctity of his character amply 
compenfates all other diftinctions, he is feldom feen 
but with reverence, nor heard but with fubmiffion. 

It has been remarked, that death, though often 
defied in the field, feldom fails to terrify when it ap- 
proaches the bed of ficknefs in its natural horror; fo 
poverty may eafily be endured, while aifociated with 
dignity and reputation, but will always be Ihunned 
and dreaded, when it is accompanied with ignominy 
and contempt. 

N203. THE RAMBLER. 363 

NUMB. 203. TUESDAY, February 2 9, 1752. 

Cum <uolet ilia Hies, qii/? nil niji corporis hitjus 

Jushabet, inccrti fpatiutn mihi finiat ai)i. Ovin 

Come, foon or late, death's undetermin'd day, 

This mortal being only can decay. WELSTED. 

IT feems to be the fate of man to feek all his con- 
folations in futurity. The time prefect is feldom 
able to fill defire or imagination with immediate en- 
joyment, and we are forced to fupply its deficiencies 
by recollection or anticipation. 

Every one has fo often detected the fallacioufnefs 
of hope, and the inconvenience of teaching himfelfto 
expect what a thoufand accidents may preclude, that, 
when time has abated the confidence with which youth 
rufhes out to take poflefilon of the world, we endea- 
vour, or wilh, to find entertainment in the review of 
life, and to repofe upon real facts, and certain expe- 
rience. This is perhaps one reafon, among many, 
why age delights in narratives. 

But fo full is the world of calamity, that every 
fource of pleafure is polluted, and every retirement 
of tranquillity disturbed. When time has fupplied 
us with events fufficient to employ our thoughts, it 
has mingled them with fo many difafters, that we 
Ihrink from their remembrance, dread their intrufion 
upon our minds, and fly from them as from enemies 
that purfue us with torture. 


364 THE RAMBLER. N 203. 

No man pafl the middle point of life can fit down 
to feaft upon the pleafures of youth without finding 
the banquet imbittered by the cup of forrowj he 
may revive lucky accidents, and pleafmg extrava- 
gancies s many days of harmlefs frolick, or nights of 
honeft feftivity, will perhaps recur j or, if he has 
been engaged in fcenes of action, and acquainted 
with affairs of difficulty and vicifiitudes of fortune, 
he may enjoy the nobler pleafure of looking back 
upon diftrefs firmly fupported, dangers refolutely 
encountered, and oppofition artfully defeated. sEneas 
properly comforts his companions, when after the 
horrors of a ftorm they have landed on an unknown 
and defolate country, with the hope that their mife- 
ries will be at fome diftant time recounted with de- 
light. There are few higher gratifications than that 
of reflection on furmounted evils, when they were not 
incurred nor protracted by our fault, and neither re- 
proach us with cowardice, nor guilt. 

But this felicity is almoft always abated by the re- 
flection, that they, with whom we fhould be mod 
pleafed to fhare it, are now in the grave. A few 
years make fuch havock in human generations, that 
we foon fee ourfelves deprived of thofe with whom 
we entered the world, and whom the participation of 
pleafures or fatigues had endeared to our remem- 
brance. The man of enterprife recounts his adven- 
tures and expedients, but is forced, at the clofe of the 
relation, to pay a figh to the names of thofe that con- 
tributed to his fuccefs ; he that pafles his life among 
the gayer part of mankind, has his remembrance 
ftored with remarks and repartees of wits, whole 
fprightlinefs and merriment are now loft in perpetual 


N'soj, THE RAMBLER. 365 

filence ; the trader, whofe induftry has fupplied the 
want of inheritance, repines in folitary plenty at the 
abfence of companions, with whom he had planned 
out amufements for his latter years j and the fcholar, 
whofe merit, after a long feries of efforts, raifes him 
from obfcurity, looks round in vain from his exalta- 
tion for his old friends or enemies, whofe applaufe or 
mortification would heighten his triumph. 

Among Martial's requifites to happinefs is, Res 
non parte labore, fed reli5ta> an eftate not gained by 
induftry, but left by inheritance. It is necefTary to 
the completion of every good, that it be timely ob- 
tained j for whatever comes at the clofe of life, will 
come too late to give much delight ; yet all human 
happinefs has its defects. Of what we do not gain 
for ourfelves we have only a faint and imperfect frui- 
tion, becaufe we cannot compare the difference be- 
tween want and poffeffion, or at leaft can derive from 
it no conviction of our own abilities, nor any increafe 
of felf efteem ; what we acquire by bravery or fci- 
ence, by mental or corporal diligence, comes at laft 
when we cannot communicate, and therefore cannot 
enjoy it. 

Thus every period of life is obliged to borrow its 
happinefs from the time to come. In youth we have 
nothing paft to entertain us, and in age, we derive 
little from retrofpect but hopelefs forrow. Yet the 
future likewife has its limits, which the imagination 
dreads to approach, but which we fee to be not far 
diftant. The lofs of our friends and companions 
imprefles hourly upon us the neceffity of our own 
departure: we know that the fchemes of man are 
quickly at an end, that we muft foon lie down in the 



grave with the forgotten multitudes of former ages, 
and yield our place to others, who, like us, fhall be 
driven a while by hope or fear, about the furface of 
the earth, and then like us be loft in the fhades of 

Beyond this termination of our material exiftence, 
we are therefore obliged to extend our hopes ; and 
almoft every man indulges his imagination with 
fomething, which is not to happen till he has changed 
his manner of being: fome amufe themfelves with 
entails and fettlements, provide for the perpetuation 
of families and honours, or contrive to obviate the 
diffipation of the fortunes, which it has been their bu- 
finefs to accumulate; others, more refined or exalted, 
congratulate their own hearts upon the future extent 
of their reputation, the reverence of diftant nations, 
and the gratitude of unprejudiced pofterity. 

They whofe fouls are fo chained down to coffers 
and tenements, that they cannot conceive a flate in 
which they (hall look upon them with lefs folicitude, 
are feldom attentive or flexible to arguments ; but 
the votaries of fame are capable of reflection, and, 
therefore, may be called to reconfider the probability 
of their expectations. 

Whether to be remembered in remote times be 
worthy of a wife man's wifii, has not yet been fatif- 
factorily decided ; and, indeed, to be long remem- 
bered, can happen to fo fmall a number, that the bulk 
of rtlankind has very little intereft in the queftion. 
There is never room in the world for more than a 
certain quantity or meafure of renown. The necef- 
fary bufmefs of life, the immediate pleafures or pains 
of every condition, leave us not lei lure beyond a fixed 
7 proportion 

N203. THE RAMBLER. 367 

proportion for contemplations which do not forcibly 
influence our prefent welfare. When this vacuity is 
filled, no characters can be admitted into the circu- 
lation of fame, but by occupying the place of fome 
that muft be thruft into oblivion. The eye of the 
mind, like that of the body, can only extend its view 
to new objects, by lofing fight of thofe which are now 
before it. 

Reputation is therefore a meteor which blazes a 
while and difappears for ever ; and if we except a few 
tranfcendent and invincible names, which no revolu- 
tions of opinion or length of time is able to fupprefs ; 
all thofe that engage our thoughts, or diverfify our 
converfation, are every moment hafting to obfcurity, 
as new favourites are adopted by fafhion. 

It is not therefore from this world, that any ray of 
comfort can proceed, to cheer the gloom of the laft 
hour. But futurity has (till its profpects ; there is 
yet happinefs in referve, which, if we transfer our at- 
tention to it, will fupport us in the pains of difeafe, 
and the languor of decay. This happinefs we may 
expect with confidence, becaufe it is out of the power 
of chance, and may be attained by all that fincerely 
defire and earneflly purfue it. On this therefore every 
mind ought finally to reft. Hope is the chief blefT- 
ing of man, and that hope only is rational, of which 
we are certain that it cannot deceive us. 

3 68 THE RAMBLER. N 20. 

NUMB. 204. SATURDAY, February 29, 1752, 


Nemo tarn divas habuit faventes, 

Craftinum ut pojjlt fibi polliceri . SENECA. 

Of heav'n's protection who can be 

So confident to utter this ? 

To-morrow I will fpend in blifs. F. LEWIS. 

OGD, lord of Ethiopia, to the inhabitants of 
the world : To the fons of frefumption, humility 
and fearj and to the daughters of forr(h t content 
and acquiefcence. 

Thus, in the tvventy-feventh year of his reign, 
fpoke Seged t the monarch of forty nations, the dif- 
tributor of the waters of the Nile : " At length, Se- 
" ged, thy toils are at an end ; thou haft reconciled 
" difaffe&ion, thou haft fupprefied rebellion, thou 
" haft pacified the jealoufies of thy courtiers, thou 
" haft chafed war from thy confines, and erected 
<c fortrefles in the lands of thy enemies. All who 
" have offended thee, tremble in thy prefence, and 
<c wherever thy voice is heard, it is obeyed. Thy 
" throne is furrounded by armies, numerous as the 
" locufts of the fummer, and refiftlefs as the blafts of 
<f peftilence. Thy magazines are ftored with am- 
<e munition, thy treafuries overflow with the tribute 
" of conquered kingdoms. Plenty waves upon 
" thy fields, and opulence glitters in thy cities. Thy 
" nod is as the earthquake that fhakes the moun- 
(f tains, and thy fmile as the dawn of the vernal day. 


N 204. THE RAMBLER. 369 

<f In thy hand is the ftrength of thoufands, and thy 
<f health is the health of millions. Thy palace h 
" gladdened by the fong of praifc, and thy path per- 
" fumed by the breath of benediction. Thy fubjecls 
" gaze upon thy greatnefs, and think of danger or 
" mifery no more. Why, Seged, wilt not thou par- 
cf take the bleffings thou beitoweft? Why fhouldft 
" thou only forbear to rejoice in this general felicity ? 
" Why (hould thy face be clouded with anxiety, when 
" the meaneft of thofe who call thee fovereign, gives 
<c the day to feftivity, and the night to peace ? At 
" length, Seged, reflect and be wife. What is the 
" gift of conqueft but fafety, why are riches col- 
" Jefted but to purchafe happinefs ?" 

Seged then ordered the houfe of pleafure, built in 
an ifland of the lake of Dam&ea, to be prepared for his 
reception. " I will retire," fays he, " for ten days 
<f from tumult and care, from counfels and decrees. 
" Long quiet is not the lot of the governors of na- 
" tions, but a ceffation of ten days cannot be denied 
*' me. This fhort interval of happinefs may furely 
" be fecured from the interruption of fear or per- 
" plexity, forrow or difappointment. . I will exclude 
<c all trouble from my abode, and remove from my 
" thoughts whatever may confufe the harmony of 
" the concert, or abate the fweetnefs of the banquet. 
" I will fill the whole capacity of my foul with en- 
ff joyment, and try what it is to live without a wifh 
" unfatisfied." 

In a few days the orders were performed, and Seged 
hafted to the palace of Dambea, which flood in an 
ifland cultivated only for pleafure, planted with every 
flower that fpreads its colours to the fun, and every 

VOL. VI. B b fhrub 

370 THE RAMBLER. N" 204. 

fhrub that fheds fragrance in the air. In one part of 
this extenfive garden, were open walks for excurfions 
in the morning ; in another, thick groves, and filent 
arbours, and bubbling fountains for repofe at noon. 
All that could folace the fenfe, or flatter the fancy, 
all that induftry could extort from nature, or wealth 
furnifh to art, all that conquefl could feize, or bene- 
ficence attraft, was collected together, and every per- 
ception of delight was excited and gratified. 

Into this delicious region Seged fummoned all the 
perfons of his court, who feemed eminently qualified 
to receive or communicate pleafure. His call was 
readily obeyed ; the young, the fair, the vivacious, 
and the witty, were all in hade to be fated with fe- 
licity. They failed jocund over the lake, which 
feemed to fmooth its furface before them : Their 
pafTage was cheered with mufick, and their hearts 
dilated with expectation. 

Seged landing here with his band of pleafure, de- 
termined from that hour to break off all acquaint- 
ance with difcontent, to give his heart for ten days 
to eafe and jollity, and then fall back to the com- 
mon ftate of man, and fuffer his life to be diverfified, 
as before, with joy and for row. 

He immediately entered his chamber, to confider 
where he (hould begin his circle of happinefs. He 
had all the artifts of delight before him, but knew 
not whom to call, fince he could not enjoy one, but 
by delaying the performance of another. He chofe 
and rejected, he refolved and changed his refolution, 
till his faculties were harafled, and his thoughts con- 
fufedj thenVeturned to the apartment where his pre- 
fence was expected, with languid eyes and clouded 


NO 204. T H E R A M B L E R. 37 z 

countenance, and fpread the infection of uneafmefs 
over the whole afTembly. He obferved their depref- 
fion, and was offended, for he found his vexation in- 
creafed by thofe whom he expected to diffipate and 
relieve it. He retired again to his private chamber, 
and fought for confolation in his own mind; one 
thought flowed in upon another; a long fuccefTion 
of images feized his attention ; the moments crept 
imperceptibly away through the gloom of penfive- 
nefs, till having recovered his tranquillity, he lifted 
up his head, and faw the lake brightened by the fet- 
ting fun. " Such," faid Seged fighing, " is the 
" longed day of human exiftence : Before we have 
<f learned to ufe it, we find it at an end." 

The regret which he felt for the lofs of fo great a 
part of his firft day, took from him all difpofition to 
enjoy the evening; and, after having endeavoured, 
for the fake of his attendants, to force an air of gaiety, 
and excite that mirth which he could not fhare, he 
refolved to refer his hopes to the next morning, and 
lay down to partake with the (laves of labour and 
poverty the blefling of fleep. 

He rofe early the fecond morning, and refolved 
now to be happy. He therefore fixed upon the gate 
of the palace an edict, importing, that whoever, dur- 
ing nine days, fhould appear in the prefence of the 
king with dejected countenance, or utter any ex- 
preffion of difcontent or forrow, fhould be driven for 
ever from the palace of Dambea. 

This edict was immediately made known in every 
chamber of the court, and bower of the gardens. 
Mirth was frighted away, and they who were before 
dancing in the lawns, or finging in the fhades, were 

B b 2 at 

372 THE RAMBLER. N" 204. 

at once engaged in the care of regulating their looks, 
that Seged might find his will punctually obeyed, and 
fee none among them liable to banifhment. 

Seged now met every face fettled in a fmile ; but 
a fmile that betrayed folicitude, timidity, and con- 
itraint. ' He acceded his favourites with familiarity 
and foftnefs ; but they durft not fpeak without pre- 
meditation, left they fhould be convicted of difcon- 
tent or forrow. He propofed diverfions, to which no 
objection was made, becaufe objection would have 
implied uneafinefs; but they were regarded with in* 
difference by the courtiers, who had no other defire 
than to fignalize themfelves by clamorous exultation. 
He offered various topicks of converfation, but ob- 
tained only forced jefts, and laborious laughter, and 
after many attempts to animate his train to confi- 
dence and alacrity, was obliged to confefs to himfelf 
the impotence of command, and refign another day 
to grief and difappointment. 

He at laft relieved his companions from their ter- 
rors, and fhut himfelf up in his chamber to afcertain, 
by different meafures, the felicity of the fucceeding 
days. At length he threw himfelf on the bed, and 
clofed his eyes, but imagined, in his fleep, that his 
palace and gardens were overwhelmed by an inunda- 
tion, and waked with all the terrors of a man ftrug- 
gling in the water. He compofed himfelf again to 
reft, but was affrighted by an imaginary eruption 
into his kingdom, and driving, as is ufual in dreams, 
without ability to move, fancied himfelf betrayed to 
Kis enemies, and again ftarted up with horror and in- 


N 204. THE RAMBLER. 373 

It was now day, and fear was fo ftrongly im- 
prefled on his mind, that he could fleep no more. 
He rofe, but his thoughts were filled with the de- 
luge and invafion, nor was he able to difengage his 
attention, or mingle with vacancy and cafe in any 
amufement. At length his perturbation gave way to 
reafon, and he refolved no longer to be haiafied by 
vilionary miferies ; but before this refolution could 
be completed, half the day had elapfed : He felt a 
new conviction of the uncertainty of human fchemes, 
and could not forbear to bewail the weaknefs of that 
being, whofe quiet was to be interrupted by vapours 
of the fancy. Having been firft disturbed by a 
dream, he afterwards grieved that a dream could 
difturb him. He at laft difcovered, that his terrors 
and grief were equally vain, and, that to loie the 
prefent in lamenting the paft, was voluntarily to pro- 
trad: a melancholy vifion. The third day was now 
declining, and Seged again refolved to be happy on 
the morrow. 

Bb 3 

374 THE RAMBLER. N 205. 

NUMB. 205. TUESDAY, March 3, 1752. 

Volat amiiguis 

Mobilis alls hora, nee ulli 

P raft at velcx for tuna fidem . SENECA. 

On fickle wings the minutes hafte, 

And fortune's favours never laft. F. LEWIS. 

ON the fourth morning Seged rofe early refrefhed 
with fleep, vigorous with health, and eager with 
expectation. He entered the garden, attended by the 
princes and ladies of his court, and feeing nothing 
about him but airy cheerfulnefs, began to fay to his 
heart, " This day fhall be a day of pleafure." The 
fun played upon the water, the birds warbled in the 
groves, and the gales quivered among the branches. 
He roved from walk to walk as chance direcled him, 
and fometimes liftened to the fongs, fometimes 
mingled with the dancers, fometimes let loofe his 
imagination in flights of merriment; and fometimes 
uttered grave reflections, and fententious maxims, 
and feafted on the admiration with which they were 

Thus the day rolled on, without any accident of 
vexation, or intrufion of melancholy thoughts. All 
that beheld him caught gladnefs from his looks, and 
the fight of happinefs conferred by himfelf filled his 
heart with fatisfaction : But having paffed three hours 
in this harmlefs luxury, he was alarmed on a fudden 
by an univerfal fcream among the women, and turn- 

7 in g 

N 205. THE RAMBLER. 375 

ing back, faw the whole afiembly flying in confufion. 
A young crocodile had rifen out of the lake, and was 
ranging the garden in wantonnefs or hunger. Seged 
beheld him with indignation, as a dilturber of his 
felicity, and chafed him back into the lake, but could 
not perfuade his retinue to flay, or free their hearts 
from the terror which had feized upon them. The 
princefles inclofed themfelves in the palace, and could 
yet fcarcely believe themfelves in fafety. Every at- 
tention was fixed upon the late danger and efcape, and 
no mind was any longer at leifure for gay fallies or 
carelefs prattle. 

Seged had now no other employment than to con- 
template the innumerable cafualties which lie in am- 
bufh on every fide to intercept the happinefs of man, 
and break in upon the hour of delight and tranquil- 
lity. He had, however, the confolation of thinking, 
that he had not been now difappointed by his own 
fault, and that the accident which had blafted the hopes 
of the day, might eafily be prevented by future 

That he might provide for the pleafure of the next 
morning, he refolved to repeal his penal edict, fince 
he had already found that difcontent and melancholy 
were not to be frighted away by the threats of autho- 
rity, and that pleafure would only refide where ihe 
was exempted from controul. He therefore invited 
all the companions of his retreat to unbounded plea- 
fantry, by propofing prizes for thofe who fhould, on 
the following day, diftinguifli themfelves by any fef- 
tive performances; the tables of the antechamber 
were covered with gold and pearls, and robes and 

B b 4 garlands 

376 THE RAMBLER. N* 205. 

garlands decreed the rewards ofthofe who could refine 
elegance or heighten pleafure. 

At this difplay of riches every eye immediately 
fparkled, and every tongue was bufied in celebrating 
the bounty and magnificence of the emperor. But 
when Seged entered, in hopes of uncommon enter- 
tainment from univerfal emulation, he found that any 
paffion too ftrongly agitated, puts an end to that 
tranquillity which is neceflary to mirth, and that the 
mind, that is to be moved by the gentle ventilations 
of gaiety, muft be firft fmoothed by a total calm. 
Whatever we ardently wifti to gain, we muft in the 
fame degree be afraid to lofe, and fear and pleafure 
cannot dwell together. 

All was now care and folicitude. Nothing was 
done or fpoken, but with fo vifible an endeavour at 
perfection, as always failed to delight, though it 
fometimes forced admiration : And Seged could not 
but obferve with forrow, that his prizes had more 
influence than himfelf. As the evening approached, 
the conteft grew more earned, and thofe who were 
forced to allow themfelves excelled, began to difco- 
ver the malignity of defeat, firft by angry glances, 
and at laft by contemptuous murmurs. Seged like- 
wife fhared the anxiety of the day, for confidering 
himfelf as obliged to diftribute with exact juftice the 
prizes which had been fo zealoufly fought, he durft 
never remit his attention, but paffed his time upon the 
rack of doubt in balancing different kinds of merit, 
and adjufting the claims of all the competitors. 

At laft, knowing that no exactnefs could fatisfy 
thofe whofe hopes he fhould difappoint, and thinking 


N 205. THE RAMBLER. 377 

that on a day fet apart for happinefs, it would be 
cruel to opprefs any heart with Ibrrow, he declared 
that all had pleafed him alike, and difmiffed all with 
prefents of equal value. 

Seged foon faw that his caution had not been able 
to avoid offence. They who had believed them- 
felves fecure of the higheft prizes, were not pleafed 
to be levelled with the crowd; and though, by the 
liberality of the king, they received more than his 
promife had intitled them to expetl, they departed 
unfatisfied, becaufe they were honoured with no 
diftinftion, and wanted an opportunity to triumph 
in the mortification of their opponents. <f Behold 
" here," faid Seged, " the condition of him who 
" places his happinefs in the happinefs of others." 
He then retired to meditate, and, while the courtiers 
were repining at his diftributions, faw the fifth fun 
go down in difcontent. 

The next dawn renewed his refolution to be 
happy. But having learned how little he could ef- 
fecT: by fettled fchemes or preparatory meafures, he 
thought it beft to give up one day entirely to chance, 
and left every one to pleafe and be pleafed his own 

This relaxation of regularity diffufed a general 
complacence through the whole court, and the 
emperor imagined, that he had at laft found the 
fecret of obtaining an interval of felicity. But as 
he was roving in this carelefs aflembly with equal 
carelefnefs, he overheard one of his courtiers in a 
clofe arbour murmuring alone : " What merit has 
t( Seged above us, that we fhould thus fear and 

" obey 

373 THE RAMBLER. N 205. 

< obey him, a man, whom, whatever he may have 
< c formerly performed, his luxury now ihews to have 
<e the fame weaknefs with ourfelves." This charge 
affected him the more, as it was uttered by one 
whom he had always obferved among the moft abject 
of his flatterers. At firft his indignation prompted 
him to feverity; but reflecting, that what was 
fpoken, without intention to be heard, was to be 
confidered as only thought, and was perhaps but 
the fudden burft of cafual and temporary vexation, 
he invented fome decent pretence to fend him away, 
that his retreat might not be tainted with the breath 
of envy, and after the flruggle of deliberation was 
paft, and all defire of revenge utterly fupprefled, 
palled the evening not only with tranquillity, but 
triumph, though none but himfelf was confcious of 
the victory. 

The remembrance of this clemency cheered the 
beginning of the feventh day, and nothing hap- 
pened to difturb the pleafure of Seged, till looking 
on the tree that fhaded him, he recollected, that 
under a tree of the fame kind he had patted the 
night after his defeat in the kingdom of Goiama. 
The reflection on his lofs, his difhonour, and the 
miferies which his fubjects fuffered from the invader, 
filled him with fadnefs. At laft he fhook off the 
weight of forrow, and began to folace himfelf with 
his ufual pleafures, when his tranquillity was again 
difturbed by jealoufies which the late conteft for the 
prizes had produced, and which, having in vain tried 
to pacify them by perfuafion, he was forced to filence 
by command. 


N 205- THE RAMBLER. 379 

On the eighth morning Seged was awakened early 
by an unufual hurry in the apartments, and enquir- 
ing the caufe, was told that the princefs Balkis was 
feized with ficknefs. He rofe, and calling the phy- 
ficians, found that they had little hope of her reco- 
very : Here was an end of jollity : all his thoughts 
were now upon his daughter, whofe eyes he clofed 
on the tenth day. 

Such were the days which Seged of Ethiopia had 
appropriated to a fhort refpiration from the fatigues of 
war and the cares of government. This narrative he 
has bequeathed to future generations, that no man 
hereafter may prefume to fay, " This day fhall be a 
" day of happinefs." 

3 8o THE RAMBLER. N 206. 

NUMB. 206. SATURDAY, March 7, 1752. 

Propofiti ncndum pudet, atque eadem eft mensi 

Ut bonafumma putes, attend wi-vere quadra. Juv. 

But harden'd by afFronts, and ftill the fame, 

Loft to all fenfe of honour and of fame, 

Thou yet can'ft love to haunt the great man's board, 

And think no fupper good but with a lord. BOWLES. 

WHEN Diogenes was once afkcd, what kind 
of wine he liked beft ? he anfwered, " That 
" which is drunk at the coft of others." 

Though the character of Diogenes has never ex- 
cited any general zeal of imitation, there are many 
who refemble him in his tafte of wine; many who 
are frugal, though not abftemious ; whofe appetites, 
though too powerful for reafon, are kept under re- 
ftraint by avarice j_ and to whom all delicacies lofe 
their flavour, when they cannot be obtained but at 
their own expence. 

Nothing produces more fmgularity of manners 
and inconftancy of life, than the conflict of oppo- 
fite vices in the fame mind. He that uniformly 
purfues any purpofe, whether good or bad, has a 
fettled principle of action; and as he may always 
find who are travelling the fame way, is 
countenanced by example, and fhekered in the 
multitude j but a man, actuated at once by different 


N2o6. THE RAMBLER. 381 

defines, muft move in a direction peculiar to himfelf, 
and fufFer that reproach which we are naturally in- 
clined to beftow on thofe who deviate from the reft 
of the world, even without enquiring whether they 
are worfe or better. 

Yet this conflict of defires fometimes produces 
wonderful efforts. To riot in far- fetched diflies, 
or furfeit with unexhaufted variety, and yet praclife 
the mod rigid economy, is furely an art which may 
juftly draw the eyes of mankind upon them whofe 
induftry or judgment has enabled them to attain it. 
To him, indeed, who is content to break open the 
chefts, or mortgage the manors of his anceftors, 
that he may hire the minifters of excefs at the high- 
eft price, gluttony is an eafy fcience; yet we often 
hear the votaries of luxury boafting of the elegance 
which they owe to the tafte of others, relating with 
rapture the fucceffion of difhes with which their 
cooks and caterers fupply them j and expecting their 
fhare of praife with the difcoverers of arts and the ci- 
vilizers of nations. But to Ihorten the way to con- 
vivial happinefs, by eating without coft, is a fecret 
hitherto in few hands, but which certainly deferves 
the curiofity of thofe whofe principal enjoyment is 
their dinner, and who fee the fun rife with no other 
hope than that they fhall fill their bellies before it 

Of them that have within my knowledge at- 
tempted this fcheme of happinefs, the greater part 
have been immediately obliged to defift ; and fome, 
whom their firft attempts flattered with fuccefs, were 
reduced by degrees to a few tables, from which they 



were at laft chafed to make way for others j and 
having long habituated themfelves to fuperfluous 
plenty, growled away their latter years in difcon- 
tented competence. 

None enter the regions of luxury with higher ex- 
pectations than men of wit, who imagine, that they 
fhall never want a welcome to that company whofe 
ideas they can enlarge, or whofe imaginations they 
can elevate, and believe themfelves able to pay 
for their wine with the mirth which it qualifies 
them to produce. Full of this opinion, they 
crowd with little invitation, wherever the fmell 
of a feaft allures them, but are feldom encouraged 
to repeat their vifits, being dreaded by the pert as 
rivals, and hated by the dull as difturbers of the 

No man has been fo happy in gaining and keep- 
ing the privilege of living at luxurious houfes as Gu- 
lofulus, who, after thirty years of continual revelry, 
has now eftabliftied, by uncontroverted prefcription, 
his claim to partake of every entertainment, and 
whofe prefence they who afpire to the praife of a 
fumptuous table are careful to procure on a day of 
importance, by fending the invitation a fortnight 

Gulofulus entered the world without any eminent 
degree of merit ; but was careful to frequent houfes 
where perfons of rank refbrted. By being often feen, 
he became in time known ; and from fitting in the 
fame room, was fuffered to mix in idle converfation, 
or afiifted to fill up a vacant hour, when better 
amufement was not readily to be had. From the 


N2o. THE RAMBLER. 383 

coffee-houfe he was fometimes taken away to dinner; 
and as no man refufes the acquaintance of him whom 
he fees admitted to familiarity by others of equal 
dignity, when he had been met at a few tables, he 
with lefs difficulty found the way to more, till at laft 
he was regularly expected to appear wherever prepa- 
rations are made for a feaft, within the circuit of his 

When he was thus by accident initiated in luxury, 
he felt in himfelf no inclination to retire from a life 
of fo much pleafure, and therefore very ferioufly con- 
fidered how he might continue it. Great qualities, 
or uncommon accomplilhments, he did not find ne- 
cefTary ; for he had already feen that merit rather 
enforces refpect than attracts fondnefsj and as he 
thought no folly greater than that of lofing a dinner 
for any other gratification, he often congratulated 
himfelf, that he had none of that difgufting excel- 
lence which impreffes awe upon greatnefs, and con- 
demns its pofieffbrs to the fociety of thofe who are 
wife or brave, and indigent as themfelves. 

Gulofulus having never allotted much of his time 
to books or meditation, had no opinion in philofophy 
or politicks, and was not in danger of injuring his 
intereft by dogmatical pofitions, or violent contra- 
diction. If a difpute arofe, he took care to liften 
with earned attention -, and when either fpeaker grew 
vehement and loud, turned towards him with eager 
quicknefs, and uttered a fhort phrafe of admiration, 
as if furprifed by fuch cogency of argument as he 
had never known before. By this filent concef- 
fion, he generally preferved in either controvertift 
fuch a conviction of his own fuperiority, as in- 


clined him rather to pity than irritate his adverfary, 
and prevented thofe outrages which are fometimes 
produced by the rage of defeat, or petulance of tri- 

Gulofulus was never embarraffed but when he was 
required to declare his fentiments before he had been 
able to difcover to which fide the mafter of the houfe 
inclined, for it was his invariable rule to adopt the 
notions of thofe that invited him. 

It will fometimes happen that the infolence of 
wealth breaks into contemptuoufneis, or the turbu- 
lence of wine requires a vent ; and Gulofulus feldom 
fails of being fingied out on fuch emergencies, as one 
on whom any experiment of ribaldry may be fafely 
tried. Sometimes his lordfhip finds himfelf inclined 
to exhibit a fpecimen of raillery for the diverfion of 
his gueft, and Gulofulus always fupplies him with a 
fubject of merriment. But he has learned to confider 
rudenefs and indignities as familiarities that entitle 
him to greater freedom : he comforts himfelf, that 
thofe who treat and infult him pay for their laughter, 
and that he keeps his money while they enjoy their 

His chief policy confifts in felecting fome difh from 
every courfe, and recommending it to the company, 
with an air fo decifive, that no one ventures to con- 
tradict him. By this practice he acquires at a feafl a 
kind of dictatorial authority j his taile becomes the 
ftandard of pickles and feafoning, and he is vene- 
rated by the profeflbrs of epicurifm, as the only man 
who underftands the niceties of cookery. 

Whenever a new fauce is imported, or any inno- 
vation made in the culinary fyftem, he procures the 


N2o6. THE RAMBLER. 385 

earlieft intelligence, and the moft authentick receipt; 
and, by communicating his knowledge under proper 
injunctions of fecrecy, gains a right of tailing his 
own difh whenever it is prepared, that he may tell 
whether his directions have been fully nnderftood. 

By this method of life Gulofulus has fo imprefled on 
his imagination the dignity of feafting, that he has no 
other topick of talk, or fubject of meditation. His 
calendar is a bill of fare j he meafures the year by fuc- 
ceffive dainties. The only common places of his 
memory are his meals ; and if you afk him at what 
time an event happened, he confiders whether he 
heard it after a dinner of turbot or venifon. He 
knows, indeed, that thofe who value themfelves upon 
fenfe, learning, or piety, fpeak of him with contempt; 
but he confiders them as wretches envious or igno- 
rant, who do not know his happinefs, or vvifh to fup- 
plant him j and declares to his friends, that he is 
fully fatisfied with his own conduct, fince he has fed 
every day on twenty diflies, and yet doubled his 

VOL. VI. C c 

386 THE RAMBLER. N 207, 

NUMB. 207. TUESDAY, March 10, 1752, 

Solve fenefcentem mature fanus equum, tie 

feccet ad e xtremum ridsndiu. HOR. 

The voice of reafon cries with winning force, 

Loofe from the rapid car your aged horfe, 

Left, in the race derided, left behind, 

He drag his jaded limbs and buril his wind. FRANCIS. 

SU C H is the emptinefs of human enjoyment, 
that we are always impatient of the prefent. 
Attainment is followed by neglect, and pofleffion by 
difguft j and the malicious remark of the Greek epi- 
grammatift on marriage may be applied to every 
other courfe of life, that its two days of happinefs are 
the firft and the laft. 

Few moments are more pleafing than thofe in 
which the mind is concerting meafures for a new 
undertaking. From the firft hint that wakens the 
fancy, till the hour of actual execution, all is im- 
provement and progrefs, triumph and felicity. Every 
hour brings additions to the original fcheme, fug- 
gefts fome new expedient to fecure fuccefs, or dif- 
covers confequential advantages not hitherto fore- 
feen. While preparations are made, and mate- 
rials accumulated, day glides after day through ely- 
fian profpects, and the heart dances to the fong of 

Such is the pleafure of projecting, that many cbn- 

tent themfelves with a fuccefllon of vifionary fchemes, 

7 and 

N'2oy. THE RAMBLER. 387 

and wear out their allotted time in the calm amufe- 
ment of contriving what they never attempt or hope 
to execute. 

Others, not able to feaft their imagination with 
pure ideas, advance fomewhat nearer to the grofT- 
nefs of action, with great diligence collect whatever 
is requifite to their defign, and, after a thoufand 
refearches and confultations, are fnatched away by 
death, as they fland in procinffu waiting for a proper 
opportunity to begin. 

If there were no other end of life, than to find 
fome adequate folace for every day, I know not whe- 
ther any condition could be preferred to that of the 
man who involves himfelf in his own thoughts, and 
never fuffers experience to fhew him the vanity of 
{peculation ; for no fooner are notions reduced to 
practice, than tranquillity and confidence forfake the 
breaftj every day brings its tafk, and often without 
bringing abilities to perform it : difficulties embar- 
rals, uncertainty perplexes, oppofition retards, cen- 
fure exafperates, or neglect deprefles. We pro- 
ceed becaufe we have begun i we complete our de- 
fign, that the labour already fpent may not be vain : 
but as expectation gradually dies away, the gay fmile 
of alacrity difappears, we are compelled to implore 
feverer powers, and truft the event to patience and 

When once our labour has begun, the comfort that 
enables us to endure it is the profpect of its end j for 
though in every long work there are fome joyous 
intervals of felf-applaufe, when the attention is re- 
created by unexpected facility, and the imagination 
foothed by incidental excellencies j yet the toil with 
C c 2 which 

388 THE RAMBLER. N* 207. 

which performance ftruggles after idea, is fo irkfome 
and difgufting, and fo frequent is the neceflity of 
refting below that perfe&ion which we imagined 
within our reach, that feldom any man obtains more 
from his endeavours than a painful conviction of his 
defects, and a continual refufcitation of defires which 
he feels himfelf unable to gratify. 

So certainly is wearinefs the concomitant of our 
undertakings, that every man, x in whatever he is en- 
gaged, confoles himfelf with the hope of change ; if 
he has made his way by afiiduity to publick employ- 
ment, he talks among his friends of the delight of 
retreat ; if by the neceflity of folitary application he 
is fecluded from the world, he liftens with a beating 
heart to diftant noifes, longs to mingle with living 
beings, and refolves to take hereafter his fill of di- 
verfions, or difplay his abilities on the univerfal 
theatre, and enjoy the pieafure of diftin&ion and 

Every defire, however innocent, grows dangerous, 
as by long indulgence it becomes afcendent in the 
mind. When we have been much accuftomed to 
confider any thing as capable of giving happinefs, 
it is not eafy to reftrain our ardour, or to forbear 
fome precipitation in our advances, and irregularity 
in our purfuits. He that has cultivated the tree, 
watched the fwelling bud and opening bloflbm, and 
pleafed himfelf with computing how much every fun 
and (hower add to its growth, fcarcely flays till the 
fruit has obtained its maturity, but defeats his own 
cares by eagernefs to reward them. When we have 
diligently laboured for any purpofe, we are willing 
to believe that we have attained it, and, becaufe we 


N2oy THE RAMBLER. 389 

have already done much, too fuddenly conclude that 
no more is to be done. 

All attraction is increafed by the approach of the 
attracting body. We never find ourfelves fo defirous 
to finifh, as in the latter part of our work, or fo im- 
patient of delay, as when we know that delay cannot 
be long. Thus unfeafonable importunity of difcon- 
tent may be partly imputed to languor and wearinefs, 
which muft always opprefs thofe more whole toil has 
been longer continued ; but the greater part ufually 
proceeds from frequent contemplation of that eafe 
which is now confidered as within reach, and which, 
when it has once flattered our hopes, we cannot fuffer 
to be .withheld. 

In fome of the nobleft compofmons of wit, the 
conclufion falls below the vigour and fpirit of the firll 
books ; and as a genius is not to be degraded by the 
imputation of human failings, the caufe of this de- 
clenfion is commonly fought in the ftructure of the 
work, and plaufible reafons are given why in the de- 
fective part lefs ornament was neceiTary, or lefs could 
be admitted. But, perhaps, the author would have 
confelTed, that his fancy was tired, and his perfever- 
ance broken ; that he knew his defign to be unfinifhed, 
but that, when he faw the end fo near, he could no 
longer refufe to be at reft. 

Againft the inftillations of this frigid opiate, the 
heart fhould be fecured by all the confiderations 
which once concurred to kindle the ardour of en- 
terprize. Whatever motive firft incited action, has 
dill greater force to ftimulate perfeverance j fince he 
that might have lain ftill at firft in blamelefs obfcu- 
rity, cannot afterwards defift but with infamy and 

C c 3 reproach. 

390 THE RAMBLER. N 207. 

reproach. He, whom a doubtful promife of diftant 
good could encourage to let difficulties at defiance, 
ought not to remit his vigour, when he has almoft 
obtained his recornpence. To faint or loiter, when 
only the lafl efforts are required, is to fleer the fhip 
through tempefts, and abandon it to the winds in 
fight of land ; it is to break the ground and fcatter 
the feed, and at laft to neglect the harveft. 

The matters of rhetorick direct, that the moft for- 
cible arguments be produced in the latter part of an 
oration, left they Ihould be effaced or perplexed by 
fupervenient images. This precept may be juftly 
extended to the feries of life : Nothing is ended with 
honour, which does not conclude better than it be- 
gan. It is not fufficient to maintain the firft vigour; 
for excellence lofes its effect upon the mind by cuf- 
tom, as light after a time ceafes to dazzle. Admi- 
ration muft be continued by that novelty which firft 
produced it, and how much foever is given, there muft 
always be reafon to imagine that more remains. 

We not only are moft fenfible of the laft impref- 
fio'ns, but fuch is the unwillingnefs of mankind to 
admit tranfcendent merit, that, though it be difficult 
to obliterate the reproach of mifcarriages by any fub- 
fequent atchievement, however illuftrious, yet the 
reputation raifed by a long train of fuccefs, may be 
finally ruined by a fingle failure; for weaknefs or 
error will be always remembered by that malice and 
envy which it gratifies. 

For the prevention of that difgrace, which laffitude 
and negligence may bring at laft upon the greateft 
performances, it is neceffary to proportion carefully 
our labour to our ftrength. Ifthedefign comprifes 


N207. THE RAMBLER. 39 i 

many parts, equally effential, and therefore not to be 
feparated, the only time for caution is before we en- 
gage ; the powers of the mind muft be then impar- 
tially eftimated, and it muft be remembered, that not 
to complete the plan, is not to have begun it ; and 
that nothing is done, while any thing is omitted. 

But, if the tafk confifts in the repetition of fmgle 
acts, no one of which derives its efficacy from the reft, 
it may be attempted with lefs fcruple, becaufe there 
is always opportunity to retreat with honour. The 
danger is only, left we expefl from the world the in- 
dulgence with which moft are difpofed to treat them- 
felves ; and in the hour of liftlefnefs imagine, that the 
diligence of one day will atone for the idlenefs of an- 
other, and that applaufe begun by approbation will 
be continued by habit. 

He that is himfelf weary will foon weary the pub- 
lick. Let him therefore lay down his employment, 
whatever it be, who can no longer exert his former 
activity or attention; let him not endeavour to 
ftruggle with cenfure, or obftinately infeft the flage 
till a general hifs commands him to depart. 

Cc 4 

392 THE RAMBLER. N 208. 

NUMB. 208. SATURDAY, March 14, 1752. 

lyu' t ft? u nctTcii ?.*T 

Ot^si?" rau-r* J?w xj -Tragat TIi%7i$s-;r,. DlCG. LAERT. 

Begone, ye blockheads, Her adit us cries, 
And leave my labours to the learn'd and wife ; 
By wit, by knowledge, ftudious to be read, 
I fcorn the multitude, alive and dead. 

TIME, which puts an end to all human plca- 
fures and forrows, has likewife concluded the 
labours of the RAMBLER. Having fupported, for 
two years, the anxious employment of a periodical 
writer, and multiplied my effays to upwards of two 
hundred, I have now determined to defift. 

The reafons of this refolution it is of little im- 
portance to declare, fince juftification is unneceflary 
when no objection is made. I am far from fup- 
pofing, that the ceflation of my performances will 
raife any inquiry, for I have never been much a fa- 
vourite of the publick, nor can boaft that, in the 
progrefs of my undertaking, I have been animated 
by the rewards of the liberal, the carefTes of the great, 
or the praifes of the eminent. 

But I have no defign to gratify pride by fubmif- 
fion, or malice by lamentation j nor think it reafon- 
able to complain of neglect from thofe whofe regard I 
never folicited. If I have not been diftinguiflied by 


N2o3. THE RAMBLER. 393 

the diftributors of literary honours, I have feldom 
defcended to the arts by which favour is obtained. I 
have feen the meteors of fafhion rife and fall, with- 
out any attempt to add a moment to their duration. 
I have never complied with temporary curiofity, nor 
enabled my readers to difcufs the topick of the day ; 
I have rarely exemplified my afiertions by living 
characters ; in my papers, no man could look for 
cenfures of his enemies, or praifes of himfelf j and 
they only were expected to perufe them, whofe paf- 
fions left them leifure for abftracted truth, and whom 
virtue could pleafe by its naked dignity. 

To fome, however, I am indebted for encourage- 
ment, and to others for affiftance. The number of 
my friends was never great, but they have been fuch 
as would not fuffer me to think that I was writing in 
vain, and I did not feel much dejection from the want 
of popularity. 

My obligations having not been frequent, my ac- 
knowledgments may be foon difpatched. I can re- 
ftore to all my correfpondents their productions, with 
little diminution of the bulk of my volumes, though 
not without the lofs of fome pieces to which particular 
honours have been paid. 

The parts from which I claim no other praife than 
that of having given them an opportunity of appear- 
ing, are the four billets in the tenth paper, the fecond 
letter in the fifteenth, the thirtieth, the forty-fourth, 
the ninety-feventh, and the hundredth papers, and 
the fecond letter in the hundred and feventh. 

Having thus deprived myfelf of many excufes 
which candour might have admitted for the inequa- 
lity of my compofitions, being no longer able to al- 

394 TH|E RAMBLER. N 208. 

lege the necefllty of gratifying correfpondents, the 
importunity with which publication was folicited, or 
obflinacy with which correction was rejected, I muft 
remain accountable for all my faults, and fubmit, 
without fubterfuge, to the cenfures of criticifm, 
which, however, I fhall not endeavour to foften by 
a formal deprecation, or to overbear by the influence 
of a patron. The fupplications of an author never 
yet reprieved him a moment from oblivion ; and, 
though greatnefs has fometimes Iheltered guilt, it 
can afford no protection to ignorance or dulnefs. 
Having hitherto attempted only the propagation of 
truth, I will not at laft violate it by the confefilon of 
terrors which I do not feel : having laboured to main- 
tain the dignity of virtue, I will not now degrade it 
by the meannefs of dedication. 

The feeming vanity with which I have fometimes 
fpoken of myfelf, would perhaps require an apology, 
were it not extenuated by the example of thofe who 
have publifhed eflays before me, and by the privi- 
lege which every namelefs writer has been hitherto 
allowed. cc A mafk," fays Caftiglione, " confers a 
" right of acting and fpeaking with lefs reftraint, 
<f even when the wearer happens to be known." 
He that is difcovered without his own confent, may 
claim fome indulgence, and cannot be rigoroufly 
called to juftify thofe fallies or frolicks which his dif- 
guife muft prove him defirous to conceal. 

But I have been cautious left this offence fhould 
be frequently or grofsly committed ; for, as one of 
the philofophers directs us to live with a friend, as 
with one that is fome time to become an enemy, I 
have always thought it the duty of an anonymous 



author to write, as if he expected to be hereafter 

I am willing to flatter myfelf with hopes, that, by 
collecting thefe papers, I am not preparing, for my 
future life, either fhame or repentance. That all are 
happily imagined, or accurately polifhed, that the 
fame fentiments have not fometimes recurred, or the 
fame expreffions been too frequently repeated, I have 
not confidence in my abilities fufficient to warrant. 
He that condemns himfelf to compofe on a ftated 
day, will often bring to his talk an attention diffi- 
pated, a memory embarrafTed, an imagination over- 
whelmed, a mind diftracted with anxieties, a body 
languishing with difeafe : He will labour on a barren 
topick, till it is too late to change it j or, in the ar- 
dour of invention, cliffufe his thoughts into wild ex- 
uberance, which the prefling hour of publication 
cannot fufFer judgment to examine or reduce. 

Whatever fhall be the final fentence of mankind, I 
have at lead endeavoured to deferve their kindnefs. I 
have laboured to refine our language to grammatical 
purity, and to clear it from colloquial barbarifms, li- 
centious idioms, and irregular combinations. Some- 
thing, perhaps, 1 have added to the elegance of its 
conduction, and fomething to the harmony of its 
cadence. When common words were lefs pleafing to 
the ear, or lefs diftinct in their fignification, I have 
familiarifed the terms of philofophy, by applying 
them to popular ideas, but have rarely admitted any 
word not authorized by former writers ; for I believe 
that whoever knows the Englijb tongue in its prefent 
extent, will be able to exprefs his thoughts without 

-further help from other nations. 


396 THE RAMBLER. N2o8. 

As it has been my principal defign to inculcate 
wifdom or piety, I have allotted few papers to the 
idle Iports of imagination. Some, perhaps, may -be 
found, of which the higheft excellence is harmlefs 
merriment; but fcarcely any man is fo fteadily ferious 
as not to complain, that the feverity of dictatorial in- 
ftruction has been too feldom relieved, and that he is 
driven by the fternnefs of the Rambler's philofophy to 
more cheerful and airy companions. 

Next to the excurfions of fancy are the difquifitions 
of criticifm, which, in my opinion, is only to be 
ranked among the fubordinate and inftrumental arts. 
Arbitrary decifion and general exclamation I have 
carefully avoided, by afferting nothing without a 
reafon, and eftablilhing all my principles of judg- 
ment on unalterable and evident truth. 

In the pictures of life I have never been fo ftudious 
of novelty or furprize, as to depart wholly from all 
refemblance j a fault which writers defervedly cele- 
brated frequently commit, that they may raife, as the 
occafion requires, either mirth or abhorrence. Some 
enlargement may be allowed to declamation, and 
fome exaggeration to burlefque j but as they deviate 
farther from reality, they become lefs ufeful, becaufe 
their leflbns will fail of application. The mind of the 
reader is carried away from the contemplation of his 
own manners j he finds in himfelf no likenefs to the 
phantom before him j and though he laughs or rages, 
is not reformed. 

The effays profefledly ferious, if I have been able 
to execute my own intentions, will be found exactly 
conformable to the precepts of Chriilianity, without 
any accommodation to the licentioufnefs and levity 


N2o8. THE RAMBLER. 397 

of tlje prefent age. I therefore look back on this 
part of my work with pleafure, which no blame or 
praife of man fnall diminifh or augment. I fhall 
never envy the honours which wit and learning ob- 
tain in any other caufe, if I can be numbered among 
the writers who have given ardour to virtue, and 
confidence to truth. 

Celeftial pow'rs ! that piety regard, 

From You my labours wait their laft reward. 



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